Purple Stuff Boosts Awareness, Sales Through Facebook

Beverage leveraging social media to engage customers, retailers

Purple Stuff soda can

SPRINGS, Texas -- With an increasing number of relaxation beverages on the market, Funktional Beverages Inc. knew it could not be too relaxed about its marketing plan for its Purple Stuff beverage, said Facebook Marketing Solutions. So in March 2010, the company turned to Facebook ads to help raise awareness of its new drink.

Chief marketing officer Tim Lucas started advertising on Facebook to create a forum where customers could establish an emotional connection with Purple Stuff, said the report. He did this by first creating a Facebook page called Purple Stuff, www.facebook.com/mypurplestuff, and advertising the page by running marketplace ads.

Soon, according to the report, he noticed the page was fostering a lot of interactions with both existing and potential consumers. One customer posted on the page that she had grown to like the beverage so much that she was drinking Purple Stuff every day. She also posted that she even wore a shirt to school with the company's name on it once a week. This post alone generated more than 100 "likes." Shortly thereafter, her friends wanted shirts too, it said.

"We send out fans on quests to tell us what displays look like in stores, what flavors they carry, if they are out of stock, what the store clerk thinks about the product, and on and on," said Lucas. "They are our boots on the ground and they are honest, hard-working and innovative."

The Purple Stuff page has also become a place where consumers share ideas, photos and personal videos about their experiences with the brand, the report said. When Lucas has run campaigns promoting Purple Stuff, he has created a variety of Facebook ads for different promotions, giveaways and local events.

In one campaign, the company promoted a photo contest in Arizona that allowed consumers to win Purple Stuff products and cash prizes. It also held an event during which customers were able to get free Purple Stuff soda by visiting the company's truck and uttering the phrase "Spike said I can have free Purple Stuff!" With these incentives in the ad text coupled with a bright purple image of the soda, Lucas attracted thousands of consumers in a matter of days, he told Facebook Marketing Solutions.

After testing several different ads, he has learned that his core target audience on Facebook is 13- to 35-year-olds, with 60% of them being female.

Purple Stuff started off being carried in only a few stores in its original location, Texas. By the first quarter of 2011, Purple Stuff was available in more than 5,000 stores.

As of mid April 2011, the company had gained more than 145,000 fans to its Facebook page, giving the company a large base of brand loyalists with whom to engage and gather feedback. Its activities on Facebook are also leading to sales, said the report.

"We drive foot traffic to stores that carry Purple Stuff and the retailers are amazed that we can do it at will and within hours of posting that it is available at their store now," Lucas said.

He said that he plans to continue to use Facebook ads to promote his product and to expand the awareness and distribution of the brand. "Facebook is as important to our brand as our company website in terms of effectiveness and excitement," he said.
Based inSprings, Texas, Funktional Beverages manufactures cold fill/hot fill beverages, nutritional supplements and social media consumer systems. It uses co-packers to bottle its products. Brands include Superliminal Purple Stuff and Supraliminal Labs Red Stuff. It also works with private-label manufacturing.