Sparkling Ice Brings ‘Dragon’ to Walmart

Preston, Wash. — TalkingRain Beverage Co. executed its first fully integrated path-to-purchase initiative for its Sparkling Ice bottled water this summer, partnering with DreamWorks Animation for a Walmart-centric campaign that leveraged the theatrical release of “How to Train Your Dragon 2.”

The beverage company worked with IRI data to better understand the Walmart shopper, working with the retailer to target its “loyals” and “superloyals,” says Nina Morrison, vice president of community and customer relations. “We focused our media and commercials on moms 28 to 35. She’s the shopper, and she brings home Sparkling Ice to be consumed by the whole family. … That’s similar to the information we got from DreamWorks, that they’re fun for the whole family; kids and adults enjoy it.”

The partnership was a demographic no-brainer for Sparkling Ice, says Morrison. “We realized that Sparkling Ice appeals to young and old, male and female, and DreamWorks does the same,” she says. “They bring fun, and we bring refreshment, which is also fun.”

The campaign began in May (weeks before the movie’s debut) and was expected to last most of the summer, fading out as the movie left theaters. As a DreamWorks promotional partner, Sparkling Ice had the rights to use the studio’s trademark on any type of merchandising at point-of-sale and in social media, but not on the package itself, Morrison says.

The in-store material at Walmart centered on a dragon display, with graphics developed by Kendal King Group, Kansas City, Mo., with a minimum of 35 pieces of product, Morrison says. Dump bins contained an augmented reality experience in which shoppers could interact with dragons. And there were case cards promoting a sweepstakes that consumers could enter to win a free private screening for their friends. Great Northern Corp., Appleton, Wis., created the dump bins and case cards.

“The way the displays were set up in the stores, they were incredibly eye-catching,” Morrison says. “By themselves they made a statement – they were full of product and very, very colorful. The augmented reality was a first for us.” Retailers other than Walmart had similar materials, with the dump bins and case cards, but a somewhat different look “specific to their stores.”

Sparkling Ice used its Facebook page and website/microsites to support the promotion. Dallas ad agency Javelin contributed to the online and social media effort and created the sweepstakes. Additionally, during the movie’s opening night gala, nearly 4,000 attendees received goodie bags containing Sparkling Ice.

Morrison says 5,500 displays were set up (Sparking Ice’s most ever), while the campaign reached 2.4 million people on Facebook and received 18,000 comments, “Likes” and shares. “The execution is the best we’ve ever had,” she says. “The fact that it was an integrated campaign has led our CEO to say, ‘This is what we need to do.’”

When DreamWorks releases the DVD in November, Sparkling Ice is planning a grocery promotion (excluding Walmart) in which consumers receive two free bottles of Sparkling Ice with a purchase of the DVD. The brand will again measure sell-through and social media activity, Morrison says.

Further partnerships with DreamWorks await in 2015, she adds. “They’re looking to have – down the road – a third part to the series,” Morrison says, “and the fit is something that we can put our arms around.”

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