Ocean Spray goes big for 'blue' launch

LAKEVILLE, MA: Ocean Spray is launching a campaign for the national rollout of its new blueberry-flavored drink, a departure from its cranberry-flavored product portfolio and positioning.

LAKEVILLE, MA: Ocean Spray is launching a campaign for the national rollout of its new blueberry-flavored drink, a departure from its cranberry-flavored product portfolio and positioning.

Following a six-month testing period and quiet shelf launch last December, the team, including AOR Weber Shandwick, is introducing the product to media and consumers via an “out of the blue”- themed event and partnership with JetBlue Airways.  

“This is something new for us, so our whole theme is ‘out of the blue,'" said Dorree Gurdak, SVP and head of consumer in Weber Shandwick's Cambridge office. “We really want as much national exposure as possible to create awareness and drive trial.”

On June 14, the team unveiled a 38-foot model of the new product at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport and plans to release video and photos later in the day. Due to security at the airport, the team will transport it to Greeley Square Park in New York City on June 15, where consumers can view it up close and sample the new product, as well as win prizes from JetBlue. Gurdak explained that the airport location signifies that the product “has arrived,” and it made sense to partner with the airline because it ties in with the “blue” theme.

“Initially, we thought, 'how do we create a lot of noise with something blue?'” said Larry Martin, VP of marketing at Ocean Spray.

The team had approached JetBlue for a flight sampling opportunity that will take place throughout July, an idea inspired by Terra Blues Potato Chips, the airline's official snack, he said.  

He added that the team hopes this campaign will potentially secure a similar long-term deal with the airline.     

“What really brought the idea home was…if [blue chips] could be the official snack, could we be the official beverage?” he said. “We're not at that stage yet, but if we can prove that this is a really good relationship, we could continue doing business with JetBlue.” 

TV ads for the new product, featuring the cranberry growers who appear in the cranberry beverage ads, launched last month. Martin noted that the team wanted to build the PR effort around National Blueberry Month in July.  

The team will leverage JetBlue's Twitter and Facebook following to promote the campaign, as well as conduct media relations throughout the summer. The team will also use the launch of the blueberry product to build its Facebook presence.

*Correction: This story initially stated that the team had invited national media to JFK airport. Due to security issues, there will be no media at the airport site. We regret the error.

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