Naked Juice was founded on the beaches of Santa Monica more than 30 years ago. Since then, we’ve grown to become a beloved national juice and smoothie maker, living the dream of so many start-ups. But in an industry where being homegrown is valued by customers, it’s an ever-present challenge to retain our equity and essence as a local brand, while maintaining a national footprint.
Another challenge for us is innovation. As a juice maker, we’re always looking to innovate with new product offerings. And as marketers, we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to connect with our consumers in the context of their daily lives and within their own communities, from branded bike lanes to food-truck tours.
We’re able to do so by paying attention to our consumers, and by understanding and respecting who they are. Based on data gathered by our internal insights team, we know that the Naked Juice drinker leads an active lifestyle, seeks new experiences, and appreciates nature. They’re connected to their families and involved with their local communities.
Leveraging these insights about the lifestyle, behaviors, and beliefs of our audience, we launched the “Endorsed by Kale” hyper-local advertising campaign in January to reinforce the brand’s commitment to the types of community efforts that are so important to our customers.
Never underestimate the power of a celebrity (…or a superfood)
While most brands pursue celebrity or professional athlete endorsements, we knew a household name would stymie our locally focused approach. And besides, who better to endorse Naked’s veggie-forward green juice Kale Blazer than the hero ingredient itself: kale?
That’s right, instead of a nationally recognized spokesperson, we brought the leafy green superfood to life with a series of tongue-in-cheek, clever one-liners in out-of-home and print advertisements targeted to our consumers in local cities and socially through a dedicated Twitter handle: @TweetsByKale. The character Kale gives Kale Blazer its full endorsement, introducing consumers to the drink’s deliciousness.
The “Endorsed by Kale” campaign is running in eight key markets: Chicago, New York, Portland, Seattle, Washington, D.C., San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Each city features contextually relevant marquee billboard advertisements strategically placed in what we deem hip neighborhoods, such as Wicker Park in Chicago and North Beach in San Francisco, while local magazines include city-specific “Endorsed by Kale, Loved by [insert city name]” print ads. The targeted creative copy showcases Naked’s ongoing commitment to community. Out-of-home marketing that talks directly to the community—such as “Kalefornia Dreaming” in San Diego, “Welcome to Kale-Landia” in Portland, and “Lakeview is feeling the Kale Effect” in Chicago—addresses the challenge to connect head-on with local consumers and reinforces the brand’s marketing efforts to bring Naked into its customers’ neighborhoods.
In the digital space, Kale, via @TweetsByKale, connects directly with our consumers. Kale offers its quirky commentary, GIFs, and support of Kale Blazer, allowing for and encouraging consumer engagement.
Though only a month in, we’ve already seen an exciting consumer response to the various campaign activations. We’ve heard from local businesses that want to sell our juice after seeing our targeted advertisements. @TweetsByKale’s following continues to build momentum, reaching more than 5,000 followers (and growing) to date. Consumers have found the campaign cheeky and funny, often tagging friends in reply to Kale’s tweets, demonstrating their own connection to the brand and campaign.
The “Endorsed by Kale” campaign is clever and fun, and we’re proud of that. But more important, we’ve maintained the connection to our roots that is so critical to driving loyalty and growth in the “Better-For-You” category, which is chock-full of consumers who prioritize and value that local focus. This particular campaign only runs through the end of March, but it’s likely you’ll see this approach from us again.
About the author:
Andrea Theodore is head of marketing at Naked Emerging Brands, where she brings her passion for marketing strategy, innovation, and brand building to the group’s suite of brands, including Naked Juice, IZZE Sparkling, and O.N.E. Coconut Water. For more than 20 years, Andrea has led innovative marketing efforts across a diverse portfolio of consumer products, including household care, beauty, and now food and beverage.