February 27, 2024

Advertising: Jarritos, the Mexican Soda, Tries to Move Beyond Its Base

The campaign, which began rolling out in stages on Sept. 6, focuses primarily on the Los Angeles market, where Jarritos has commissioned three murals and is doing consumer sampling. The brand also has a new Web site, Jarritos.com, and is advertising on Pandora, the Internet radio service, and elsewhere online.

All initiatives of the campaign — which is by GSDM, an agency based in Austin, Tex., that has previously done work for Coca-Cola and RC Cola and is part of the Omnicom Group — are aimed at 18- to 24-year-old, non-Hispanic, trend-setting males.

Jarritos is made with granulated natural sugar — not high-fructose corn syrup as are many mass-market soft drinks — and is sold in glass bottles at grocery and convenience stores, as well as some Super Target and Wal-Mart stores, in the United States. It comes in 11 flavors, including guava, tamarind and mango.

According to Beverage Marketing, a consulting company that specializes in the beverage industry, Jarritos is sold in almost half of United States grocery stores that have annual sales of over $2 million. Beverage Marketing also estimates Jarritos’s retail sales in the United States were from $150 million to $200 million last year, making it a leading niche soft drink.

Those sales are minuscule, however, compared with 2010 retail sales of $14.4 billion for Coca-Cola, $7.1 billion for Pepsi, and $5.2 billion for Dr. Pepper, as estimated by Beverage Marketing.


Novamex, a private company in El Paso, Tex., owns the Jarritos brand and the rights to market it outside of Mexico; it has been selling Jarritos in the United States for 25 years.

“Three years ago, we decided to broaden our reach,” said David Flynn, marketing director for Novamex. “We saw opportunities elsewhere. We had pretty good awareness in non-Hispanic Los Angeles, the market is very integrated. It only makes sense that we talk to a wider audience particularly in a market like Los Angeles, where people know the brand.”

Mr. Flynn said the new campaign was aimed specifically at trend-setting young men because they were “independent thinkers, with a more bohemian lifestyle. We want to focus on one single group that will influence all around them, including women.”

Duff Stewart, chief executive of GSDM, said “you can’t talk at” this group, and added: “We’ve tried to create a platform that reaches the target audience in ways they like to engage.”

To spread Jarritos’s message — summed up by the campaign’s tagline, “We’re not from here” — GSDM hired Federico Archuleta, a street artist who is based in Austin. Mr. Archuleta painted murals on buildings in Hollywood, Silver Lake and Venice Beach, Calif., with designs like a skull wearing a sombrero and surrounded by Jarritos bottles.

Novamex is also handing out samples of the soda in select neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area. The samples are transported by large tricycles driven by luchadores, or masked wrestlers, and a food truck. Painted with a Jarritos bottle and flames, the truck also carries a wooden sign with a wrestler’s mask design that has a functioning bottle-opener in the wrestler’s mouth.

Jarritos’s new Web site features 10 playful videos aimed at young men. One shows a Jarritos taste test with a boomerang-carrying Australian aborigine. In another, a young female artist summons an eagle to pry the cap off her Jarritos bottle.

Jarritos also is advertising on Federated Media’s network of independent Web sites; and Revision 3, a special-interest Internet video network.

Mr. Flynn said Jarritos would extend the Los Angeles campaign to one additional market next year, either Austin, Chicago or New York.

GSDM said the campaign’s budget is $3 million to $5 million, through March 2012, a significant increase over Jarritos’s recent advertising expenditures. According to Kantar Media, Jarritos spent $550,000 on advertising last year and $64,000 in the first half of this year, compared with $341,000 in the same period last year. Mr. Flynn said previous advertising, created in Mexico, was primarily on American Hispanic radio stations.


Industry experts said Novamex’s strategy could face some obstacles, though Larry Finkel, director of food and beverage research for Marketresearch.com, a market research company, praised Novamex’s decision to pursue young men, who he said were “less loyal to brand identity, and change brands more often for the sake of variety.”

Genaro Gutierrez, an associate professor at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, said Novamex must have sufficient distribution of Jarritos for the campaign to succeed.

“If you convince me to buy something and then I don’t find it, I’ll forget it in five minutes,” Mr. Gutierrez said. “If you don’t have the right distribution channels, you are wasting your money.”

Ann Hanson, executive director of product management of the NPD Group, another market research company, said the Jarritos campaign could be thwarted by declining consumption of soft drinks at home.

According to NPD, Americans consumed carbonated soft drinks with 13 percent of in-home meals and snacks last year, down from 19 percent in 2001. Consumption of sugared soft drinks with in-home meals and snacks fell similarly, to 10 percent last year from 16 percent in 2001.

Another challenge, Ms. Hanson said, was consumers’ growing sensitivity “around products with high amounts of sugar in them, even if it’s natural.”

Brian Sudano, managing partner of Beverage Marketing who has advised Novamex on Jarritos’ marketing, said the company also faced the challenge of “getting the crossover consumer to pick up its brand and adopt it. Very few ethnic brands have actually penetrated the general market.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=3b8ab2db0441f38b29de8189c717a329

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