New Energy Drink Counting on Irreverent Humor to Get Noticed
The company that popularized pomegranate juice, Pom Wonderful, is looking to stake its claim in the energy-drink arena, introducing PomX Iced Coffee with an irreverent marketing campaign targeted to 18- to 24-year-olds with taglines such as "Wake the F Up" and "Yes officer, I'm completely buzzed."
The phrase Wake the F Up among others, is being emblazoned on coasters, valet tickets and bathroom signs, and are also turning up in college newspapers around the time of midterm and final exams.
The spots which run during late-night programs such as "Saturday Night Live," "The Daily Show" and "The Tonight Show" are Laced with humor while featuring a cast of people dressed in sheep costumes. When they drink PomX, their eyes bulge out in cartoon fashion, and someone exclaims "What the flock?" A series of print ads also features the bulging cartoon eyes and taglines such as "For increased lickety-split-ed-ness" and "For ultimate wakey-wake-ed-ness."
The multimillion-dollar campaign is a marked departure from the parent brand's clever but tame advertisements. Yet brand manager Clarence Chia says there haven't been any complaints.
"It catches people off guard and makes them stop and watch and listen," Mr. Chia said. "And [kids] really like the campaign and the tongue-in-cheek approach and the fact that we're actually targeting them and focusing on the college marketing."
Mr. Chia describes PomX as an all-in-one beverage for busy college students, saying that it replaces students' Red Bull and Starbucks, while providing a dose of antioxidants. "The college consumer drinks energy drinks to get them through the day, so they can still go out at night and wake up in the morning for classes," he said. "We wanted to be a replacement for [energy drinks], and we wanted to be everywhere they were."
Targeting a younger demographic is also part of a broader strategy to introduce the group to the company's juices and teas. "The college consumer was really important to us, because we wanted consumers to jump onto our brand earlier," Mr. Chia said. "We wanted to ensure that they were interested in PomX ... but are also looking to Pom Wonderful, which originally has probably been more popular with the older demographic."
While much of the PomX marketing focuses on a younger demographic, the brand is also meant to appeal to 34- to 54-year-olds who are balancing busy lives and looking for a "healthy buzz."
To reach a broad spectrum of consumers, the PomX launch, which has focused on the New York metro area, is breaking new media ground for the company. TV advertising and large-format out-of-home buys, such as city bus wraps and taxi toppers, are just two of the new initiatives. Mr. Chia said the company has a $4 million marketing budget for the New York launch.
"Since this is a new product, and we're essentially developing a new niche category with the ready-to-drink category, we wanted to try out all the new vehicles we could," he said. "We're doing a lot of out-of-home to reach consumers on the go. ... And we chose to do TV to spread the word quicker."
In the second quarter of next year, PomX will expand to between eight and 10 new metro markets, likely including Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago. The marketing budget for next year's effort has not been determined, although Mr. Chia said PomX will receive the same amount of focus around the country that it did in New York. All of the creative and media buying duties for PomX are handled in-house.
Mr. Chia declined to share sales figures for PomX, which has been on shelves for less than two months, but he said that it is outpacing the launches of the company's juice and tea products.
Larson note: As a drink I personally am not too excited about it, even if I am a great coffee lover. As an advertising target they are hitting the target for their product, one that will be responsive to their product. To push a stimulant onto to youth is to me never a good idea but then, what do I know?
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