Brisk Boosts Brand With Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D


Last February, PepsiCo made waves for Brisk with a clay-animated Super Bowl commercial featuring Eminem. Now, as the New York Times reports, PepsiCo is piggybacking on the February 10th theatrical release of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace 3D to promote the Brisk line of iced tea and juice drinks.

This week the brand is introducing new packaging and a new mobile game app featuring Star Wars characters Yoda, R2-D2, Jar Jar Binks and Darth Maul in a bid to engage Brisk’s target market of young adults, “particularly males,” ages 18 to 29. The extension of its ongoing partnership with Lucasfilm marks the “largest multimedia advertising and marketing campaign that PepsiCo has ever waged for Brisk.” Find out more, and check out screen grabs from the mobile game, below.[more]

As the Times notes, “PepsiCo has bottled and marketed Brisk, a Lipton ready-to-drink tea brand, through a joint venture with Unilever, owner of Lipton, since 1991. It has also worked with Lucasfilm to promote the Star Wars franchise since 1997.”

The Star Wars 3D cross-promotion has been teased since Dec. 22nd on Brisk’s Facebook page. The NYT says Brisk’s Facebook followers jumped from 10,000 in late 2010 to more than 950,000 following the Super Bowl spot with Eminem. More proof of its success:

Eric Fuller, brand director for Brisk, said the brand’s sales had more than doubled in the last two years, to a projected 104 million cases this year from 48 million cases in 2009. Similarly, according to data provided by Larry Finkel, director of food and beverage research for, Brisk’s dollar sales in supermarkets, drugstores and mass merchants excluding Walmart rose 12 percent, to $94.3 million, in the year ending April 17, 2011. That rate of growth far exceeded the rate of dollar sales growth of PepsiCo’s other Lipton ready-to-drink tea brands, Lipton, Lipton Diet, Lipton PureLeaf and Tazo. Brisk’s rate of dollar sales growth also exceeded that of rival brands Arizona, up 3.5 percent, and Snapple, up 6.2 percent. During this period, Arizona Beverage Company brands generated 30.8 percent of all ready-to-drink tea dollar sales, PepsiCo 29.9 percent and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group 17.2 percent, Mr. Finkel said.

Cue the Star Wars 3D tie-in to bolster that success in a partnership that includes the introduction, starting Tuesday, of special “Star Wars” packaging and promotions at retailers.  “Among these are a one-liter, limited-edition bottle of raspberry iced tea (at right) with a Darth Maul label; codes under caps of one-liter bottles of Brisk’s 12 teas and juice drinks, which will help buyers play the “Star Wars” mobile game; and a new one-gallon jug, in four flavors, for home consumption.”

The Times adds,

On Wednesday, a new Brisk Saber mobile game app will be introduced in the Android and Apple marketplace; players will be able to unlock new game characters, vehicles and weapons by redeeming bottle cap codes. The app will be promoted on Facebook and Hulu, and through Tapjoy, an app ad network, beginning Jan. 9. On Jan. 15th, 15- and 30-second TV spots will start running, initially on Fox Broadcasting’s Sunday night “Automation Domination” programming, and subsequently on network and cable stations like Adult Swim, Comedy Central, MTV, Spike and Syfy.

The 30-second spot shows Yoda and Darth Maul beginning to fight. Darth Maul’s light saber malfunctions many times before he falls into a Brisk vending machine. Although he is reinvigorated when he drinks the iced tea, just as he again tries to attack Yoda, the vending machine squashes him. Yoda says, “Too old for this I’m getting,” while the voice-over proclaims, “That’s Brisk, baby,” a tagline introduced in Brisk’s original animation spots. More than 500 movie theaters in 15 states that sell PepsiCo beverages will run the TV spots for two months starting Friday; similar radio ads will run starting Jan. 23 on stations in New York and Southern California.

Brisk also will hold sampling events across the country from late January through mid-March. Mr. Fuller said Brisk’s 2012 advertising and marketing budget would be in the “low double digits” of millions of dollars, the most PepsiCo had ever spent to promote the brand. He also said 75 percent of this spending would occur in the first quarter of the year. According to the research firm Kantar Media, PepsiCo’s annual advertising expenditures for Brisk never exceeded $670,000 in 2007, 2008 and 2010, and totaled $4.7 million in the first nine months of this year. It said PepsiCo did no advertising for Brisk in 2009.

“Consumers are more worried about spending and looking for value. My gut feeling is the new 128-ounce packaging and gaming should put Brisk right where it wants to be,” commented Michael Bellas, chairman and CEO of Beverage Marketing, to the Times about the new Star Wars campaign’s prospects for Brisk, which he calls the “dominant value brand” in the ready-to-drink tea category. 

Irma Zandl, a New York-based market researcher, was less impressed after viewing the new spot, calling it “like every other 30-second spot with a superhero. I didn’t feel, ‘Wow, I’ve got to post them on Facebook because they’re so fresh.’ The question is, will young guys think this is so amazing and fabulous? Young consumers are so much savvier and have set the bar so much higher because they see so much.”

Below, check out screen grabs from Brisk’s new Star Wars-themed mobile game: