GoGo squeeZ, a line of applesauce snacks in resealable pouches with built-in straws, recently made its first foray into paid national media. The campaign was timed to support a new, national activities and sampling event dubbed "Play Day." The brand campaign includes 30- and 15-second TV spots airing on networks and cable through March. The ads show kids snacking on the pouches while enjoying active outdoor activities, backed by Bear Mountain's upbeat song "Two Step." The voiceover message: "With GoGo squeeZ, good times happen 100% naturally, and they're never, ever watered down. Welcome to the art of fun, not the artificial...We are GoGo squeeZ, and we are more than just applesauce. We are Awesome Sauce...10 varieties, 100% fruit. Applesauce on the go." Created by Norwalk, Conn.-based agency Circle One and the brand's marketing team, the spots capture the brand's promise of being "where families on-the-go turn to be healthier, happier and more playful," sums up Jeannette Cornell, director of insights, GoGo squeeZ. The campaign also includes print ads similarly stressing the brand's playful, healthy message; these ran in the January issues of Real Simple, Self and People, and an issue of Women's Health. In addition, GoGo squeeZ ran paid online ads on sites including People.com, WomensHealth.com and DailyCandy.com in the days leading up to Jan. 11—which it had declared to be "Play Day." On Play Day, GoGo squeeZ “playbassadors” made appearances in 11 cities (Aspen, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Miami and Tampa) to host family-oriented activities and performances, giving out samples throughout the day. The main event kicked off at 1:11 pm in each continental U.S. time zone, rolling from New York to Los Angeles over the course of the day. For example, in New York, the New York Knicks dancers led a celebration in Herald Square and Times Square; in Chicago, Olympic Gold Medalist Kern Strug hosted the Jesse White Tumblers at Navy Pier, and families got free rides on the carousel. Leading up to Play Day, GoGo squeeZ used its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram assets to promote the upcoming activities and drive families to a dedicated Play Day site to "book" some family play time on Play Day. Those who booked and provided their contact information were mailed a coupon for a free four-pack of GoGo squeeZ, redeemable only on Jan. 11. The brand also made offers through other channels, including printable digital coupons redeemable through January, and an offer on the Ibotta mobile app. It used social media to provide fans with photos and updates on the activities in all of the cities throughout Play Day and in the days following the event. GoGo squeeZ reports that printed-out coupons alone numbered more than 125,000. And while redemption rates aren't yet final, there were 75,000 completed engagements by Ibotta users. Between the coupons and the on-site sampling, the brand generated "significant" product trial, confirms Cornell. Overall, Play Day and the national media brand campaign were designed to kick off 2014 by announcing that it would be GoGo squeeZ's "most playful year to date," she says. But while these efforts represent an acceleration of marketing, the brand has been doing just fine up to now. The product's U.S. sales have grown from $6 million to more than $100 million since it was launched in the U.S in 2008, by Materne North America. That's a division of France's privately owned Groupe Mom-Materne Mont Blanc, which since 1998 has sold more than 1.6 billion of the resealable fruit pouches in Europe (where they're called Pom'potes) and more than 2 billion around the world. To date, the emphasis in the U.S. has been on building awareness and loyalty by establishing "deep, one-on-one relationships with our families" through active, playful interaction with the brand's social communities, says Cornell. " We’re always trying to think outside the box while engaging our consumers and putting a smile on their faces. We also love making special announcements exclusively on social media." As the Play Day event demonstrates, GoGo squeeZ has also been big on offering sampling opportunities, live and online. Indeed, GoGo squeeZ some time ago created a "squeeZ Squad," including "captains" in nine key markets who contract to implement sampling opportunities for the brand on a part-time, contract basis. Most are women who "have left the full-time working world and are still interested in having flexible work that they can be passionate about," according to Cornell. She reports that these ambassadors (who are supplied with product, sampling tools and clear objectives), have to date sampled the product at more than 700 events, and have "opened doors" in local communities that the brand could not have opened without their grass roots efforts. The brand's emphasis on nurturing ongoing relationships with, and learning from, consumers is also exemplified by its having created a standing group of core GoGo squeeZ fans, dubbed the "GoGo Insiders," who volunteer to provide feedback on new products, flavors and concepts. (They get free product, but no pay.) This group has been "a vital tool in our brand focus and direction," says Cornell. GoGo squeeZ has also focused on establishing partnerships with like-minded brands and causes. One example is its relationship with Life is good Playmakers, a nonprofit that seeks to help kids and families who have experienced traumas (for example, those affected by natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina). In 2013, GoGo squeeZ committed to donating $1 (up to $100,000) each time a fan shares socially, using the hashtag #gogoplayfully. In addition, the brand made an $11,000 contribution to the organization in honor of Play Day, and will implement other activities with Life is good throughout 2014.