As in years past, the Jones Soda Company has just announced their usual holiday PR gimmick…putting out an oddly flavored “holiday-themed” soda such as Turkey&Gravy or Green Bean Casserole.
This year it’s Smoked Salmon Soda.
The very thought of that makes me want to throw up. In fact even Jones CEO, Peter van Stolk, says he can’t make it through an entire bottle.
But the purpose here is not to drink the soda. It’s the gimmick and the free press they get for doing something outrageous. (I’m blogging it, right?) In fact, this time of year is a great time for a PR coup (See points 4 and 5 in my Holiday Marketing Tips post below. The Jones PR stunt is very similar to the Neiman Marcus catalog example.)
The entire Jones marketing philosophy from weird flavors to drinkers snapshots on the label has been very kitschy, very quirky, AND very successful. Jones is also a great example of how consumers help shape a brand as well. For such a small company to mushroom (probably the next flavor) onto the national stage shows a great PR push.
However, the holiday flavored soda gimmick also shows the inherent problem with all PR gimmicks. What do you do next that can get attention? It’s like a kid who shows off and everyone looks at him…he enjoys the attention and then does something else…and then something else…and then accidentally breaks a lamp.
The Turkey/Gravy flavor got LOTS of media mentions for Jones. Since then, the other holiday flavors have not. Trying to be more outrageous with each step eventually fizzes out (Soda pun intended.) The salmon flavor is outrageous, but what’s next? The good news is that Jones is being distributed nationally and is very successful so they’ve ridden the PR train to where they needed to go.
I just hope they don’t break a lamp.