Diet Rite reaches out to health media

WHITE PLAINS, NY: Diet sodas rarely register on the radar of the health and lifestyle media. But if Royal Crown has its way, this will soon change.

WHITE PLAINS, NY: Diet sodas rarely register on the radar of the health and lifestyle media. But if Royal Crown has its way, this will soon change.

WHITE PLAINS, NY: Diet sodas rarely register on the radar of the

health and lifestyle media. But if Royal Crown has its way, this will

soon change.



Royal Crown, a unit of the Triarc Beverage Group, has announced plans to

drum up excitement for its newly reformulated Diet Rite soft drink line

by reorienting its PR efforts towards health and lifestyle publications

and similar Web sites. By taking aspartame out of its diet drinks and

replacing it with two new sweeteners, the company is hoping to increase

sales among health-conscious female consumers, traditionally the largest

audience for diet soft drinks.



Diet Rite has long touted that it has no sodium, no caffeine and no

calories.



’We’re adding a fourth ’no’ to the equation: no aspartame,’ said Tami

Gross, president of TMG Public Relations, the agency directing the PR

makeover.



Gross has sent out 1,000 press kits with the tag line ’Your Kit to Get

Fit,’ targeting such publications as Self, Prevention and Healthy

Living.



She’s planning a satellite media tour with an as-yet unnamed celebrity

spokesperson. She is also shooting for extensive magazine coverage - the

Associated Press has already moved a story - as the new Diet Rite is

rolled out across the country.



While Gross declined to comment on how much Royal Crown is spending on

Diet Rite PR, Royal Crown SVP of marketing Jeffery Spencer has said the

company plans to devote a substantial amount to marketing the drink via

PR, ads and direct mail.



The Diet Rite brand clearly needs a lift. Its sales have declined 46%

since 1991 and it seized a mere 0.3% of the dollars 58 billion US

soft-drink market in 1999. The industry is betting that the arrival of

new sweeteners, approved for use by the FDA in recent years, will

reinvigorate the category by luring consumers turned off by the

aspartame aftertaste.



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