An online yard sale on Snapple Beverage Corp.'s Web site has attracted more than 250,000 visitors since the promotion went live June 1.
The yard sale encourages consumers to collect Snapple bottle caps as currency to buy items at the asking price or negotiate the best deal on Snappleton, an online town on Snapple.com.
“The idea here is more about loyalty, drive sales of bottles, getting more people to buy bottles, collect caps and buy stuff at the yard sale on Snappleton,” said Ingrid Bernstein, senior vice president and creative director at iDeutsch, the interactive arm of Deutsch, the New York agency on the account.
This initiative through November is geared to drive sales of Snapple by dangling unique merchandise like Quiksilver apparel, Lite-Brite, Nintendo Game Boy Advance and a Piaggio scooter.
Snapple's online effort last year had a weaker mandate. Snapple required consumers in the target 15-to-24 age group to post a story in 100 words or less on Snapple.com. The winning story was made into a television commercial featuring Snapple's animated bottle characters.
That effort last year was part of a $40 million marketing push by Snapple's British parent, Cadbury Schweppes PLC, to make the Snapple line of non-carbonated fruit drinks and teas appealing to its core customers and a younger audience.
Swapping bottle caps for prizes is not new. But using the Internet can pique curiosity or even boost soft drink consumption in a competitive U.S. beverage market dominated by Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo.
To grab share from other drinks in its segments and also from colas, Snapple made the yard sale process simple for consumers.
To participate, consumers buy Snapple and collect the caps. There are three kinds of caps. The silver cap is on all 16 oz. Snapple glass bottle teas, diet and juice drinks. Yellow caps are only on Snapple's Pink Lemonade, Diet Pink Lemonade and other Lemonade products. White caps are on plastic 20 oz. and 32 oz. bottles.
Once cap collecting has begun, consumers can hunt through the online yard sale for items. They can haggle with the seller and then buy the item. A purchase certificate is printed and mailed with the caps to Snapple's fulfillment center in Grand Rapids, MI.
Entrants automatically are entered for a “Caps Can't Buy Sweepstakes” offering prizes. Though visitors are encouraged to drop in on the yard sale any number of times, they qualify for only one sweepstakes entry.
More than 300 million bottles of Snapple will be flagged across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
Media support plays a crucial role in driving traffic online.
A TV commercial for the summer promotion shows a yard sale where a Snapple bottle is bashed by his mom, also a bottle, for trying to skim money to buy a stereo. The ad appears on Viacom channels like MTV, Nickelodeon and BET. Five other spots, also humorous but unrelated to the yard sale ad, also push the brand this summer.
Online, banner ads shaped like yard sale price tags on the TV channels' Web siblings — such as MTV.com, VH1.com and Nick.com — further direct consumers to Snapple.com.
The online ads float around on the media properties, and one is an Eyeblaster, “which translates very well in all different sizes,” Bernstein said.
“Snapple operates off of a really low budget than many of their competitors, and that's one of the things we're addressing, doing more with less,” she said. “By using the online channel both for fulfillment of the promotion as well as for advertising, we're really leveraging the dollars in the best possible way.”
Offline, Snapple will recreate two real yard sale events in New York and San Francisco. Sometime this summer, the efforts will benefit a national charity. They will feature a real home, backyard barbecue, lemonade stands and lots of yard sale merchandise.
Point-of-sale material will support at retail stores. “Wendy the Snapple Lady” will even visit local retailers to drum up interest.
If this promotion succeeds, iDeutsch is willing to suggest more interactive marketing for Snapple.
“One of the things that has a lot of potential — not that we're using it necessarily — is more kind of wireless, talking to people by cell phone,” Bernstein said.