Sparkling Ice Launches $37M Integrated Marketing Campaign

“Be Not Bland” is the overarching message of a new $37 million integrated marketing campaign designed to build brand awareness of zero-calorie, carbonated beverage line Sparkling Ice. Launched by Talking Rain, the maker of Sparking Ice, the campaign features a series of television advertisements designed to embrace “authenticity and individuality, celebrating the people, places and personalities that fill life with flavor and ‘not bland’ moments,” according to a company release.

In a call with BevNET, Talking Rain CEO Kevin Klock described the campaign, developed by Seattle-based creative agency Wexley School for Girls, as “a long-term platform that we can build on.”

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“This isn’t a one-year campaign,” he said. “All our call-to-actions can be around this and [be] united, which is much different than we had in the past where we had a whole bunch of independent programs.”

The definitive breakout brand in recent years, Sparkling Ice has seen sales grow by over 6,000 percent since 2010 and become the top-selling sparkling water brand in the U.S. Its flagship line pulled in more than $371 million in multi-outlet sales over a 52-week period ending on November 27, according to Chicago-based market research firm IRI.

A well-executed distribution strategy and aggressive price promotions have driven much of the growth, however, the brand has lacked a sustainable message in its marketing and branding initiatives, Klock said. He described past advertising campaigns as “a series of one-offs,” and noted that Sparkling Ice’s previous tagline,“The Bold Side of Water,” “told you want it was, but it didn’t tell you what the brand was about.”

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“We saw that the next level of growth was going to come from consumers embracing our brand and being top-of-mind,” he said. “We finally feel like we have something that the brand can stand behind.”

The new campaign, which spans across the Sparkling Ice portfolio but emphasizes the flagship line, includes a heavy investment in television advertising, with three spots that will air nationally on broadcast and cable networks through June. Wexley describes the ads as focused around “modern families engaging in traditional and recognizable activities, each with one big twist,” including “Upside Down,” which was filmed in a “rolling room” entirely upside down. The commercials will debut in conjunction with national print, online and interactive digital media, along with innovative field and in-store elements like 3-D graphics, scented displays, according to the company. The campaign kicks off today and includes an integration on ABC’s foodie-focused show “The Chew”.

The launch of the campaign was timed to reach consumers in the months leading up to summer, something that has become common industry practice, Klock said.

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“If you look at what we’ve done in the past, we’ve probably been late in terms of getting our campaigns out there, and if you’ve watched what’s gone on in the industry, everybody has moved their programming to further and further out in front of the summer sell season,” he said. “We’re now trying to follow industry trend and really trying to get out in front of it.”

Klock believes that the campaign will help the brand continue to grow in mainstream grocery and mass channels where the brand already has strong footholds, and accelerate its development in the convenience store channel. He noted that convenience store customers typically take 1.7 seconds to make beverage purchase decisions and that Sparking Ice needs “to become more top-of-mind.”

“We want to go from a product that people grab when they see it, to being on their shopping list,” he said.