OVER THE YEARS A BEVERAGE launch or promotion was a thing to behold. Yes, I live in New York City, and things are done on a grand scale here. Marketers use the city as a platform to introduce their latest and greatest hoping that the news coverage will spread throughout the land. With so much of the consumer and trade media located here, it’s a no-brainer.
I’ve seen Richard Branson’s tank navigating the streets of Manhattan trumpeting the ill-fated, long forgotten Virgin Cola. Monster Energy brought the Las Vegas Monorail and plopped it right in the heart of Times Square. We saw the re-launch of Snapple under Triarc with a parade of vintage cars carrying the resurgent Wendy back into the fold, as well as the re-re-launch under Cadbury when a melted popsicle covered Union Square in goo. I froze two winters ago when Red Bull created a snowboard ramp on the East River to banner their sponsorship of a professional snowboarding tour. Yes, it was cold, but thousands of fans shivered with me. We had concerts in Bryant Park for Gatorade’s 5 Sport Ticket promotion with the winners attending the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, Daytona 500, World Series and the NBA Finals. This list of bold events went on and on.
I was equally impressed with the initiatives of the smaller marketers to create buzz. Even without the resources to create big time events, they generated enthusiasm and pizzazz in the marketplace. VitaminWater, SoBe, Honest Tea, Fiji Water, Rockstar, Muscle Milk and Fuze come to mind as the leading innovators of this kind. Eschewing big money debuts, they relied instead on guerilla tactics. They got bodies into the streets for sampling, and into the venues they sponsored.
This is a different time. I understand that. It is a more conservative, buttoned-down marketing world. Resources are tighter, and it is harder to garner attention on the consumer level. I implore the new generation of marketers to work with their retail and distributor/wholesaler partners to create programs. I haven’t seen the next generation of marketers make their stamp yet. The opportunity is there; things are happening in cyberspace, I understand, but to me, it hasn’t yet reached the wonder of some of the big plays. Instead, I seem to wonder what it is that’s going on.
It is incumbent upon the “big boys,” with their acquisitions, to continue to do things in grand style. As for the new entries, why not try to create excitement in order to be fulfilled and successful? I regret to say that it has been missing for a while now.
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