Flintstones help Crush the competition

Selling soft drinks during early summer doesn't require anything more than the usual amount of effort.But, something more is needed to achieve record-breaking sales in that period.What Cadbury Beverages did this past May and June was tie its Crush line of...

Selling soft drinks during early summer doesn’t require anything more than the usual amount of effort.

But, something more is needed to achieve record-breaking sales in that period.

What Cadbury Beverages did this past May and June was tie its Crush line of drinks to the highly popular movie, The Flintstones.

The softdrink maker cashed in on the popularity of Fred Flintstone with the lure of two Flintstones premiums: a poster of Fred Flintstone and a Flintstones novelty wristwatch.

Andrew Black, vice-president of sales at Cadbury, says the Flintstones incentives were used to drive sales of two-litre bottles and promote the nationwide introduction of the Rainbow Pack, a case of 24 cans of pop: six orange flavor, six cream soda, six grape -all Crush brand – and six cans of Hires root beer.

‘The Rainbow Pack was successful because a lot of the consumer research that we’ve done showed that a lot of consumers that drink flavors like a lot of variety of them,’ Black says.

‘People prefer to drink, if they have the choice, six cans of four different flavors like orange, cream soda, or root beer, or lime or grape,’ he says.

‘They prefer that to 24 Orange Crush. We knew that from all our research, and, for the very first time, we were able to get bottlers to put some support behind it.’

Black says he cannot disclose how much Cadbury sold during the summer, but he does allow the company sold ‘hundreds of thousands’ of Rainbow Packs across the country from May to September this year, with those sold in May and June offering a free Fred Flintstone poster that enhanced their attractiveness.

He says the Rainbow Pack/Flintstones tie-in was the result of putting two ideas together.

Last year, Cadbury test-marketed the Rainbow Packs in Atlantic Canada at Hallowe’en and found they sold more than twice what the company had anticipated.

These sales made Cadbury realize Rainbow Packs had to be a strong element of its May-June sales efforts this summer.

Movie was soon out

But before Cadbury had finalized its plans with the bottlers, Black says Gary Williams of ONYX Marketing Group in Toronto came to the company and said `the Flintstones movie is coming out, so why not use it to promote the soft drinks.’

‘So, we put two strong ideas together, the property and Rainbow Packs,’ he says. ‘And, we decided to put a poster on top of the Rainbow Pack, knowing that it would only help the sales.’

He estimates 500,000 children across the country got themselves a free poster of Fred Flintstone during May and June this year.

He says Williams further suggested Cadbury might want to come up with a new flavor to exploit the Flintstones tie-in.

So, the company went to its research and development department in the u.s. and had them work up a candyfloss-flavored drink Cadbury called Bedrock Berry.

(Flintstones afficionados know Fred and Wilma and Barney and Betty live in the town of Bedrock.)

To drive two-litre bottle sales of any flavor Crush product, Cadbury decided on a mail-in $4.99 watch offer with two proofs of purchase.

The ‘bubble’ watch, by the Aware Group of Companies in Toronto, contains a Flintstones logo and a ‘floating’ can of Orange Crush inside a liquid-filled dome.

Animal skin pattern

The pattern of the watchband is a copy of the orange ‘animal skin’ outfit actor John Goodman wore as Fred Flintstone in the movie.

Black says Cadbury ordered 25,000 of the watches. Half of them were sold and the other half were given away as dealer loaders – an incentive to retailers to buy more stock than they otherwise might.

He says Cadbury went with the bubble watch because it wanted something that was different and with a younger appeal.

‘We wanted something that would appeal to young kids; something that was different,’ Black says.

‘We liked the idea that it combined Crush branding and Flintstones branding in a creative way with the can floating above the [watchface,]‘ he says.

Black says the reason Cadbury selected the Flintstones movie was demographics.

‘Our target is predominantly teens and young adults, and we also know that moms do a lot of shopping for kids in grocery stores,’ he says.

‘As a result of that, we liked the Flintstones property because it had a real all-age appeal to it because it’s been around such a long time.’

Williams says the cost of the Crush-Flintstones promotion was ‘very average.’

He says Cadbury was looking to move more product with it, open some business channels and create some excitement.

He says to support the promotion, Cadbury provided shelf-talkers, fridge-stickers and a couple of thousand life-sized Fred Flintstone displays for outlets across the country.

Black says in Quebec, the entire promotion was translated into French, where the Flintstones are known as Pierre a feu (literally, a stone to make fire – or flintstone.)

Before the Flintstones promotion, Cadbury had a 1992 tie-in with the popular tv show Beverly Hills, 90210, and, before that, hooked up with Radio Shack, giving away free, on-pack Radio Shack coupons.

Black says for next year Cadbury is considering another licensed property.

He is reluctant to say what it is, but concedes it is not a movie.