Press Clips: USA Today Challenges ABA’s Motives

American Beverage Association logoThe American Beverage Association (ABA) announced last week that, alongside the cola giants and the Clinton Foundation, it wants to reduce national calorie intake from beverages by 20 percent over the next 11 years.

The editorial board at USA Today was hardly impressed, referring to the ABA’s announcement as a PR move above all else — a defense tactic as carbonated soft drinks (CSD) continue to be removed from schools and eyed for taxes.

“The new campaign will allow them to argue they are good corporate citizens, even as they continue to fight these battles,” the board writes. “It also has a marketing element as it could allow them to sell more diet drinks.”

The article notes that diet CSD sales in the U.S. have declined three consecutive years at rates faster than regular CSDs. The board argues that by “wrapping themselves in virtue,” the cola companies are aiming to resuscitate these sales figures.

“The best way to look at the new campaign is as a sales theme,” the board writes.

Coke’s Summer of Sharing

share a cokeIt seems that few things encourage Americans to a pick up a bottle of Coca-Cola more than their own name.

Initiated in June, the “Share a Coke” campaign helped boost the company’s CSD sales by 2 percent and also sparked a social media tizzy, writes The Wall Street Journal. More than 500,000 photos on Instagram have featured the hashtag #shareacoke, including one by the owner of a Maltese named Crystal, who posted a photo of the pup with the bottle.

Ricardo El Torro, a 22-year-old in Atlanta, snagged a can with his name. He and his friends recently played spin the bottle with one of the customized containers.

“To see your name on a big brand, it makes it personal,” El Torro said.

Alyssa and Shane Lescallett, a couple in Lancaster, Ohio, searched all summer for cans with their names. Shane eventually found a Diet Coke with his wife’s name in Dayton, and a Coke with his name in Columbus during a work trip. Alyssa is considering placing them on a living room shelf next to wedding pictures.

“I’ll keep them forever,” she said.

The marketing boost was much needed for a company that had seen its CSD volume in the U.S. decline for 11 consecutive years. The Journal spoke with Dean Crutchfield, an independent branding consultant, who said that combining the most iconic design in the world with a personalized touch generates “a huge curiosity and wow factor.”

In 2011, Coke started the campaign in Australia through the brainstorming of local executives and the ad group Ogilvy. The company says that CSD consumption by young Australians increased by 7 percent during the initial campaign, which has since reached about 80 countries.

Coke Tries Citrus Packaging

The Coca-Cola Co. plans to make beverage boxes, cartons and other packaging with paper and cardboard containing citrus fiber and juices, according to The Atlanta Business Chronicle.

The company, which declines to comment on technology that hasn’t hit the market, plans to call the new packaging a “Peelback.” Norman Marsolan, director of the Renewable Bioproducts Institute at Georgia Tech, said that adding fiber from sources such as citrus peels to packaging could be an excellent way of using and recycling fiber.

“The making of what may be a more sustainable product accompanied with potential waste reduction should be applauded,” he said.

Huffington Post Praises Hint Water

The Huffington Post recently assembled a list of companies and the innovators behind them who broke the rules on the way to success. There’s talk of Darwin, Einstein and Jefferson. More recent paragons include Gates, Zuckerberg, Google guys Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the Steves from Apple.

The list of six features the magazine Fast Company, Facebook, Airbnb, Ted Baker, Apple and Hint Water, the only representative from the beverage industry. The article commends CEO Kara Goldin for her willingness to eschew experience when it comes to hiring the right employee.

“When you are a disruptor, you purposefully need to think and act differently — to see the opportunity where others haven’t looked,” she said. “It is true in how you talk with your consumer, how you make your product and how you go to market. I have found that people from the industry have a very difficult time thinking another way.”