PLANO, TX: Dr Pepper/Seven Up is using a combination of media relations, sampling events, and internet exposure to generate interest in its new milk-based line of single-serving beverages called Raging Cow.
The soft-drink maker, an arm of Cadbury Schweppes, broke the story about Raging Cow last month by granting an exclusive to the Associated Press, said Michael Martin, director corporate communications. "One of our principle objectives was to get the word out far and wide and as quickly as possible," he said of the decision.
The company followed the AP story with an official release the following day.
Since then, the company has been sending out 500 press kits that include samples of the new offerings to media across the Midwest and Middle South.
Initial distribution of Raging Cow will be across the middle of the country, from the Gulf to the Canadian border, Martin explained. Media relations and PR related to sampling events will be handled in-house.
After its initial media relations blitz, Dr Pepper will turn to the internet to reach its target audience of 18- to 24-year-olds. It is working with the Richards Group on web activities to attract young adults.
"They don't want to be seen with a product with a bunny on the package," Martin said, taking a shot at rival Nestle, which uses a bunny mascot for its Nesquik brand. "They feel the existing products on the market aren't exciting enough. They're looking for branding and some entertainment connected with the product," he said.
Dr Pepper wants to position Raging Cow as "milk with an attitude," Martin said. The cow logo for the brand "is basically a cow that's fed up with the everyday milking environment," he said.
Dr Pepper decided against naming the cow. "It's going to have an attitude, but not a name," Martin insisted.
Dr Pepper's new line will not only compete with Nestle, but with offerings from Dean Foods (which licenses the Hershey's name for its milk-based drinks) and Cadbury-owned brand Yoo-hoo.
Milk sales have been declining in the US over the past several years, dropping 0.8% in 2001, according to Beverage Marketing, a New York-based research firm. But sales of flavored-milk products have been on the upswing, attracting such new entrants to the marketplace as soft-drink giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Sales of flavored milk accounted for 6.6% of overall milk sales in 2001, compared with 5% of sales five years prior. Chocolate milk represented 94.9% of all flavored-milk sales in 2001, down from 97% in 1996, Beverage Marketing reports.