Michigan has been “berry, berry good” to Jones Soda, one of whose flavors is Fufu Berry. Now the Seattle-based company is trying to return the favor with a special series of Jones products that will bear photos of favorite Michigan images and will even be bottled in embattled Detroit.
When Jones got its start in 1996 in Canada, Michigan quickly became its best market in the US along with the Pacific Northwest. CEO Jennifer Cue isn’t quite sure why that happened except that Jones had some particularly strong distributors. But because of it, she told brandchannel, “many people even think Jones is a Michigan-based brand.”
In any event, when co-founder Cue returned as CEO of Jones recently, one thing she decided to do to revitalize the brand was to target Michigan once again. She believes the last year has witnessed Jones’ turnaround; Jones launched a new “all-natural” line; and its launch of that new line with Fiat in California, around the all-electric Fiat 500e, has created a spark for the brand in that crucial market.[more]
So now it’s Michigan’s turn. Jones has partnered with a Detroit distributor to bottle and sell eight flavors of Michigan-themed Jones Soda that feature more than 40 photos on the labels, showcasing the area and the state after being submitted by fans throughout Michigan. Some of the photos also include the distinctive logo of the Made in Detroit apparel collection by Kid Rock.
“Some of the focus on Michigan had been lost along the way,” Cue said. “We wanted to re-ignite that. We even brought back some of the key salespeople who had helped us build the Michigan market. The passion for the brand in Michigan is still incredible, and we’re happy to be part of the rebuilding of Michigan.”
Not that Jones wants to ignore its other key markets. Canada remains its biggest, and Jones recently honored Canadian consumers by concocting a Poutine flavor of its soda. Poutine is a Canadian “delicacy” consisting of french fries, cheese curds and gravy. “It was in the spirit of the Turkey and Gravy flavor we did in 2004,” Cue said. “It was a limited offering, but it got a lot of buzz.”
And in Seattle, Jones is actively sampling at professional football and baseball games. “We needed to focus on our core markets and then grow the brand,” Cue said. “Eventually we want to get back to markets in the East Coast that we used to be part of.”