Branding Is Bubbling At Jones Soda

Nobody – not even Jones Soda – really knows why their soda initially caught on so well in the Michigan market. But branding is bubbling for this Seattle based company. Regardless, the company has decided to go back to its “roots” as a strategic part of its plan to be profitable again. Luckily, the plan involves branding and marketing galore.

Jones has launched a “Made in Michigan” series of sodas with labels featuring consumer submitted photos of Michigan and its capital. The series is even bottled in Detroit. Jones is also not so subtly pushing southward to the California market by partnering with Fiat in a “win a Fiat 500e” campaign (the car will only release in California) and by releasing a California exclusive “Natural Jones” line of sodas. Relax, Bostonians. With only 5 grams of sugar, 30 calories and 5 grams of fiber, “Natural Jones” is too healthy for us and the name sounds like an Oprah Network reality show anyway.

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Slashing a net loss of $495,000 in Q2 2012 to only $95,000 in Q2 2013 is not too shabby, though the company did lose its NASDAQ listing about a year ago due to low shares.

Jones – since you’re increasing your marketing efforts anyway, I suggest you invest in a Jones Soda themed remix of the aforementioned “Mr. Jones” song (the ad-song is on the up). Reader – don’t even pretend it’s not still in your head. Case and point.

PS.  Now grab a soda and put the Counting Crows song in your head.

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Oreo Makes Music Wonderfill

Music has always been crucial to advertising, which is why what Oreo is doing now seems so obvious. Their “Wonderfilled” campaign employs the skills of popular musicians Chiddy Bang, Owl City, and Kacey Musgraves by having each record a different version of Oreo’s Wonderfilled jingle, which is then set to a short, word-based, cartoon animation. AdWeek has called the phenomenon the “branded pop song”.   Oreo is really trying to make music wonderfill.

There are likable and dislikable parts about this campaign. One very likable aspect is that fans of these musicians are liable to check-out the new “music” from their artist just because they are fans. That’s an easy +1 for Oreo. Another likable part of Wonderfilled is that the company can expand the campaign as it sees fit, or as it gains popularity. If it catches on, it is an almost infinitely expandable campaign for the near future. Oreo can sign new artists, do more street-marketing campaigns to place on Youtube (like the one they did in New York City), and even go so far to sponsor music festivals or something like that. Oreo even has a “Wonderfilled Studios” on their website, in which popular Youtube artists cover the ad-song as well.

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The dislikable part so far is the original version done by Owl City’s Adam Young – it is insufferable. Like his signature singles, the lyrics and melody are cutesy and bubbly like a lullaby, which may work for Oreo’s image but really takes a toll on the ears. Chiddy’s version, on the other hand, is fresh and witty – “if you want to go and lick it, I believe you should” he declares. If Oreo keeps putting out versions with bite like Chiddy’s, I think I’ll take that lick.

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Applebee’s Blows Up with Lunch Decoy

In a cheeky “up-yours” to employers who have downsized the lunch hour, Applebee’s is pushing forward with its Lunch Decoy ad campaign.  In a scarily-eighties-feeling infomercial, the restaurant chain encourages corporate drones and blue collar folks to deploy “industrial-strength” blow-up dolls to stand in for them while they take their lunch breaks.  This new line of dolls, which are indeed for sale on Amazon, are said to be able to withstand everything from annoying co-workers to ninja attacks.

It’s part of Applebee’s rebranding efforts in the last couple of years, as current president Mike Archer tries to freshen up the chain’s image.  Archer is trying to encourage people to think of Applebee’s as more than a Friday night celebration place for the unabashedly uncool.  He wants it to be a place for people to pop off to lunch several times a week.  But he still doesn’t seem to mind the uncool label, as the ad is cute, but not edgy, in tone, mimicking an eighties commercial with only a hint of snark.

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Perhaps the most subversive part of this ad is that it is hard to think of lifelike blow-up dolls without thinking of other models used for…more carnal uses.  Indeed, it seems this ad is part of a simmering movement to put clothes back on sex dolls.  The Daily Beast, the hipper form of Newsweek, recently featured a series of photos from an artist who clothes sex dolls and puts them in eerily lifelike home settings.  Perhaps clothes will become the new form of kinkiness, since we’ve done everything else we could without them as a society?

As a parting shot, here is a 7th-grade-dirty ditty about dolls from Sting and his backup band from the eighties.  Enjoy and try not to snicker the next time you go to Applebee’s.

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