Sparkling Ice Pushes Ad Budget Into Digital, Search

Sparkling Ice recently shifted its advertising and marketing strategy from traditional to digital across social media, Google Shopping ads, paid search and organic advertising and influencer marketing to attract new consumers based on interests, engagement and buying habits.

Now the company has introduced two voice skills, one on Google Assistant and the other on Amazon Alexa.

“Going into 2019 we leaned hard on digital,” said Sarah Gustat, VP of marketing at Talking Rain Beverage Co., the parent company of Sparkling Ice. “Today we’re spending about half of [of our budget] that we spent on traditional in 2017.”

In the past few months, the company has introduced two Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa skills. 

Sparkling Advice, the second voice skill offered on Google and Amazon, becomes available around Mother’s Day. It reflects the personality of the campaign, addressing what to do in certain random situations, Gustat said.

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“You launch the skill on Google or Alexa and then ask the assistant to 'give me advice'," she said.

This is not Sparkling Ice’s first use of Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice skills. The first, Sparkling IceMaker, launched about two months ago offers a more practical application.

It provides consumers with Sparkling Ice cocktail and mocktail recipes and directions. Both are part of the Naturally campaign, which describes how the company uses ingredients from natural sources.

“It lets us speak to the natural-ish consumer, the consumers who want bold colors and flavors,” she said.

Gustat said marketers for the brand are readying organic and paid campaigns. The focus is serving the message to consumers in the moment. Related keywords can be about the holiday, weather, discounts, but it really depends on personalizing it to the shopper.

“We call it dynamic content,” she said. “It’s all about a personalized approach.”

In 2017, Talking Rain used traditional media such as out-of-home, television and radio. When it decided to target consumers through digital, the company began using machine learning to develop consumer segments based on search and purchase behavior.

The move to digital helped to grow revenue, basically in one quarter. Taking Rain Beverage partially attributes its recent first-quarter 2019 revenue of $123.7 million to the shift from traditional marketing to digital. The company announced in April that sales volume rose 22.3%, up $20 million for the quarter compared with the year-ago quarter.

In a release earlier this year, Chris Hall, Sparkling Ice CEO, attributed the strong Q1 results to the company's "enhanced integrated digital strategy."

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