“Outside of loyal fans who had discovered the brand, our awareness and understanding of our point of difference was pretty low,” Kibler told FoodNavigator-USA.
That brand awareness is about to scale to new heights with Spindrift’s first national, multi-million dollar campaign featuring actress Kristen Bell appearing in humorous video ads running throughout the summer.
The integrated national campaign kicked off with print, search, digital and paid social ads, as well as out-of-home billboards in five US markets including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
“We could’ve gone in a million different directions [with the campaign], but really, it’s about explaining what we are," she said.
Establishing Spindrift’s point of difference in a category as crowded as sparkling water will be the main goal of the campaign. The brand aims to get through to consumers with messaging that emphasizes its close ties to nature with 5-8% of real fruit juice in every can (as opposed to ‘natural flavors’ deployed by its competitors such as PepsiCo’s Bubly and La Croix).
“We don’t use flavors from flavor houses [Spindrift dropped natural flavors from its formulations early last year]. When people start to internalize that messaging, it really stops and makes them reconsider,” Kibler said.
According to Kibler, Spindrift’s sweet spot and conversion success has been through trials and sampling.
“Our challenge and the goal of this campaign is to rapidly accelerate that introduction process with consumers.”
Diversifying an established category
When Spindrift started to hit its stride so did sparkling water in general, which worked in favor for the company as consumers were open to trying a new brand, especially those looking for a replacement to sugary carbonated soft drinks.
“We see consumers coming to Spindrift from all corners of the carbonated beverage landscape,” Kibler said.
In addition, using fruit juice gives Spindrift sparkling water a fuller flavor very similar to squeezing a lemon into sparkling water at home, according to the company.
“I think it makes us an easier transition from those that are coming from soft drinks.”
However, communicating its point of difference was more of a challenge since label reading has not been as big of a concern in sparkling water as it is in other products in packaged food, she claimed.
“Brands weren’t really talking about ingredients in their sparkling water because there wasn’t really an alternative so consumers weren’t really thinking about it a lot,” Kibler said.
“But we are absolutely seeing a growing desire among consumers to scrutinize the ingredients that are in beverages in the same way that mindset is already existing in the food, snack and soft drink world.”
Future plans bubbling up
While the company’s focus will be on executing its first integrated campaign for the immediate future, it has not slowed down its distrubtion having
entered Target recently and Costco in a 30-pack case.
“Gaining distribution continues to be a really important focus for us as company. Our last six months have been monumental in not only gaining our national distribution but also improving our position in the store and our flavors that we have available,” Kibler added.
Spindrift has traditionally prioritized placement in the beverage cooler in many of its retail locations, and introduced a larger 16-ounce can designed for immediate consumption.
“It’s a lot easier to get someone to try you through a single purchase,” she said.
Spindrift will continue its path to rapid expansion and build and optimize its supply chain to bring its products to as many people as possible, according to Kibler
“We don’t think of ourselves as a small niche brand, we’re looking to provide a beverage solution to everybody.”