“You’ve got Vitacoco out there with a huge marketing budget, signing Rihanna and pro athletes to endorse the product, and Jessica Alba on massive Zico billboards all over Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco,” Cuvelier told FoodNavigator-USA. “Then here we are this smaller, fiercely independent company without a big budget uniting in-store displays with heavy sampling and bringing it to life with social media to get a bigger bang for our buck. We can’t buy Jessica Alba or pay professional athletes to be our advocates. We want people to love the product, engage with the brand and talk about us because we mean something to them.”
Earlier this year, after adding a vice president of marketing and chief financial officer who both had experience at major brands including LUNA Bar and Odwalla, the Zola team conceived of a promotional campaign themed “Living Life to the Fullest” and centered on a series of five YouTube webisodes about a young couple getting to know each other in Hawaii.
“It’s about sharing a passion for life and work and play with our consumers who we know are active people who live life to fullest,” Cuvelier said. “Knowing our consumer base is 25- to 45-year olds and skews female, our creative director added a romantic piece to the story.”
In the three months from ideation to the launch on July 14, the team shot and edited the videos, and rolled out a new website, LiveZola.com, along with a new Live Zola Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram pages (to be curated by a newly added marketing associate). The videos were activated on Hulu and Women’s Health Network with supporting radio spots on Alice 97.3 FM in the San Francisco Bay Area. The two-month campaign also includes a Facebook sweepstakes, related in-store displays and heavy sampling in Zola’s core markets on the west coast.
Walking away from ‘Zola Acai’ name on social platforms
One of the main challenges in the process (aside from doing everything in-house) was walking away from two years’ worth of fan-building on Zola’s social media channels in order to totally embrace Live Zola. “We have 38,000 Facebook fans centered around the name of Zola Acai. Facebook wouldn’t let us change the name, so we made the decision to walk away and transition over to Live Zola.”
The new page currently has 5,939 Facebook fans and 3,613 Twitter followers. The old site and Facebook page are still operating, but Zola is working to migrate as many people over as possible. But Cuvelier isn’t especially concerned with the numbers at this point.