Summer Soda War

June 1, 2004
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Summer Soda War

It’s official. Fortification has expanded past the realm of energized sports drinks and waters to beverages that are traditionally considered non-nutritive: soft drinks. It was my guess that beer would be the next carbonated beverage to enter into the business of healthy, vitamin-packed drink manufacturing after the low-carb beer trend took off. But with the recent announcement that 7 UP is planning its debut of 7 UP Plus, fortified with calcium, vitamin C and juice, it appears that soft drinks have beat brews to the punch. Although it won’t be possible to try the new 7 UP for some time because the announcement precedes the actual launch of the product, the product is said to be sweetened with Splenda and the juice flavor has not been revealed, which leads me to believe that identifying the flavor preferences of its core brand consumers might still be in progress.
With C2 and Pepsi Edge leading the charge of what many have called a new mid-calorie category in the soft drink market, is this the beginning of a whole new category? Or the better question: is the U.S. market ready for these product lines? It could be a major boost for soft drink companies. But it could also be the right product at the wrong time, because this isn’t the first time mid-calorie colas have been introduced. The typical summer battle for consumer attention in the soft drink category will ensue, and the attempts to appeal to Americans’ demands for better-for-you carbonated beverages make it an interesting test case to see if consumers really are ready for change.
Absolut planner
On the heels of a slew of well-publicized nuptials, Absolut Spirits Co., working with wedding experts and a number of wedding resources, has created a 12-page guide to help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples prepare for commitment ceremonies. Including advice about everything from gift registration to rehearsal dinner planning, the guide will appear as a tear-out insert in Out magazine this month. It also is available for download at absolutcommitment.com and GLAAD.org.
Stone’s show
RémyRed has partnered with J Records to support the Stone Love Concert Tour that kicked off in Atlanta in May at the Midtown Music Festival. The RémyRed and Angie Stone show features “RémyRed,” a song that Stone wrote in homage to one of her favorite drinks. Stone also created a RémyRed-inspired cocktail named “The Girlfriend,” and has partnered with RémyRed to launch the RémyRed & Angie Stone Girlfriend Getaway sweepstakes. An advertorial announcing the launch of the sweepstakes will appear in Vogue magazine.
Driving promotion
Beginning this summer, SoBe Beverages and Jeep will join forces to reach consumers through events across the country. As part of SoBe’s Lizard Liberation under-the-cap promotion, eight Jeep Wrangler Unlimited vehicles will be awarded to SoBe grand-prize winners. Additionally, a one-of-a-kind SoBe Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, jointly developed by the companies, will be on display at Jeep 101, a 12-stop driving experience with both on- and off-road courses, Jeep Music Trax, a concert tour, and Camp Jeep two-day events.
Brats on tour
Wine Brats kicked off its “Crossing Paths”-themed Chefs w/out Hats Tour in Chicago this month at the city's Sound-Bar nightclub. Highlighting local food, wine, fashion and music at each city stop, the tour gives wine drinkers an opportunity to socialize and learn about wine in a fun atmosphere.
Festival brew
Canandaigua donated a portion of every purchase of Arbor Mist made last month to the National Arbor Day Foundation to help plant seedlings throughout Arizona forests. As part of its commitment to Arbor Day, Arbor Mist and Arbor Mist Wine Blenders packaging also featured neck hangers with Blue Spruce tree seedlings attached, encouraging patrons to plant trees in support of Arbor Day.
Tournament team
The Impulse Energy team proved its prowess at the first NBA Hoop-It-Up street basketball tournament that took place in Miami last month. Winning the championship title, the Impulse Energy team of former NFL players will be supported with a marketing initiative that includes a sales incentive program in which trade professionals can enter a contest to play with the team. The Impulse Energy team will play in other major cities throughout the summer as part of the Hoop-It-Up tournament.

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