Grassroots Marketing - Energizes an Upstart Brand
Its answer: Market products in portable packaging to these “extreme” athletes on their own turf, such as triathlons, marathons and other endurance sports events.
Ascendia is using a three-pronged marketing strategy, says Dale Hastert, Director of Functional and Nutritional Foods.
- Sampling and coupons.
- Educating consumers and “dealers” to the product’s “cooling & fueling” benefits. These dealers distribute sports-related products to schools, universities and organized athletics.
- Event marketing. “We’re building the Energice brand from the bottom up,” - Hastert says. At this “feet on the street” level, Ascendia is handing out complimentary Energice Freezer Bars, Go Gel packets and Endurance Fuel drinks to participants and fans at national and regional endurance events.
The company is also distributing coupons to encourage consumers to purchase the products at various retail outlets. One major retailer carrying the Energice brand is General Nutrition Corp. (GNC). Ascendia is conducting a market test at 600 GNC stores in 33 states and Puerto Rico.
Convienent and portable packaging facilitates product sampling. It also fits the activity requirements of endurance athletes.
The Energice Freezer Bars come in 3.5-ounce flexible tubes. Alcan Packaging (formerly Pechiney Plastic Packaging) supplies the printed film material—a polyester foil laminate.
The Energice brand name runs vertically across the carton’s front panel and leads into the Ascendia symbol—a snow-covered mountaintop with a rising sun.
Go Gel comes in the same tubes as the freezer bars, only smaller at 5 1/4 inches in length and 2.1 ounces.
The glutamine-fortified drink comes in a stand-up pouch with a spill-resistant Smart Spout. Kapak supplies the quad-panel flexible bag with the reclosable spout.
A silicone valve in the spout prevents spilling and allows consumers two options for drinking. They can suck product through the spout or they can squeeze the flexible bag to direct the liquid into their mouth.
The pouch contains layers of polyester, nylon and foil. Like the flexible tubes, Ascendia uses the matte side of the foil. Graphics on the bag mimic the design on the cartons and tubes. Kapak prints the pouch in seven colors using a rotogravure process.
Unlike rigid plastic bottles, the flexible pouch delivers space savings after consumption. Athletes can fold the empty package to minimize its volume for storage and disposal.
The author, Bob Swientek, is the Editor-in-Chief of BRANDPACKAGING magazine.