Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG) is pulling out the stops to get 7Up's sales bubbling again.
Today marks the official network and cable launch of the brand's "Ridiculously Bubbly" campaign, premised on showing "some of the crabbiest characters on screen" suddenly transformed into happy campers by drinking 7Up.
First up is Brad Garrett, the deep-voiced, sad sack-countenanced actor from TV's "'Til Death" and "Everybody Loves Raymond." Garrett is shown turning from "Mr. Grumpers" into "an effervescent free spirit" as a result of drinking a 7Up at a sidewalk café.
Other celebs associated with downbeat demeanors have also shot spots for the campaign, which was developed by Y&R San Francisco and will continue into 2010.
DPSG, which launched Cherry 7Up Antioxidant in February (replacing regular Cherry 7Up, around since the '80's), will also launch a pomegranate variety of 7Up before year's end. In addition, new packaging for the brand will be unveiled next year.
The revved-up and repositioned marketing -- shifting focus from "all natural flavors" to the fun of the brand's bubbles and lemon/lime taste -- aims to put 7Up itself on an upbeat curve again. In recent years, the brand has been impacted by the general trend of declining consumer consumption of carbonated soft drinks -- exacerbated by the recession, as well as by a damaging distribution shakeup in 2003, when most Pepsi distributors dropped 7Up in favor of PepsiCo's Sierra Mist.
7Up's sales were down about 8% last year and have been performing about the same this year, according to Beverage Digest data. However, for second-quarter 2009, DPSG reported that the brand's sales volume was down by less than 1%.
"In recent consumer research, our consumers told us that only 7Up gives them a refreshing instant lift with the first sip," Dave Falk, the brand's director of marketing, tells Marketing Daily . "We're investing in the brand to spread that message -- and using well-known un-bubbly people is a great way to share that in a fun way. 7Up is still made with 100% natural flavors, but we're putting new emphasis on the perfect amount of bubbles and crisp, clean, uplifting feeling that consumers connect with the brand."
Sales of an extension launched in 2004, 7Up Plus (flavored, 10-calorie-per-serving varieties featuring apple juice, calcium, Vitamin C and Splenda), have reportedly been disappointing.
In 2006, after7Up was reformulated, its new "all-natural ingredients" positioning was challenged by a lawsuit filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which maintained that high-fructose corn syrup is not a "natural" ingredient. The wording was subsequently changed to "100% natural flavors."
7Up has also been wooing Hispanic consumers via a partnership with NBC Universal's Telemundo, now in its second year, employing Telemundo's TV, online, mobile and retail channels. This past summer, a "7 Dias de Sevenisima" campaign featured a 7Up sweepstakes promoted via in-store videos and in-store appearances in Los Angeles by TV hostess Penelope Menchaca.