As a tie-in with the brand's new, exclusive non-alcoholic beverage sponsorship of the Seattle Seahawks and Qwest Field, the company has launched a limited-edition Seahawks Collector Pack that includes these soda flavors: Dirt, Perspiration, Natural Field Turf, Sports Cream and Sweet Victory.
And yes, the dirt, sweat and turf varieties do actually taste like those substances, according to Jones marketing and PR coordinator Clare Bowles, who participated in the pack's development. "They're very realistic," she says. "I know, because I've tasted them all. Some taste better than others."
The concept came out of discussions with the players. "We wanted to show people what the players go through"--meaning give them a little taste of what it's like to be in the National Football league, Bowles explains. JonesSoda.com cites data that during their careers, players spend an average of two years in the gym, perspire 10,000 gallons of sweat, and eat two pounds of grass and three pounds of dirt.
The $19.99 packs will be available in a limited number of stores and through the Jones site until they sell out.
And based on Jones's track record with offbeat offerings, the odds are that they'll sell out quickly. The company's limited-edition holiday products--like turkey and gravy, stuffing and string bean casserole sodas for Thanksgiving--fly off the shelves, as did last year's 10th Anniversary Hotwheels Collector Pack.
Jones is also releasing a limited-edition, Seahawks-themed 12-pack featuring more mainstream soda flavors (regular and sugar-free cola, lemon-lime) in bottles bearing photos of Seahawks players, available in the Northwest starting in November.
Founded in 1996 by current president/CEO Peter van Stolk, Jones is known for featuring always-changing photos (many of which come from consumers) on its bottles, and for using only pure cane sugar in its sodas. In addition to soda, it markets Jones Energy, Whoopass, Naturals, Organics, and 24C (multivitamin) brands.
Now public, the company reported revenue of $39 million last year (up 15% over 2005) and earnings before interest and taxes of $1.7 million (up 179%).
But it's decidedly got its own way of doing things. Its distribution in select North American markets, which now includes Starbucks, Panera Bread, Barnes & Noble, Safeway, Target, Cost Plus, Winn-Dixie, Albertson's and 7-Eleven, began with an "alternate distribution strategy" focused on outlets like skate, surf and snowboarding shops, tattoo parlors and national retail clothing and music stores.
According to Bowles, the company does not use traditional advertising, or Internet marketing going beyond its site. Instead, its marketing strategies include events, endorsements and tours. Names such as BMX pro Mat Hoffman, X-Game gold medalist Bucky Lasek and surf legend Benji Weatherly have promoted Jones at extreme sporting events around the country, and Jones RVs travel to cities around North America handing out soda and interacting with people on the street.
"We have a very loyal customer base, and we keep a close eye on what they like and what they're interested in," sums up Bowles.