Naked Juice Strawberry Banana, Digital Marketing Transparency

Some brands have latched onto the concept of digital marketing transparency, integrating rapid response mechanisms, an open social media policy and a threshold for error. Others (most) seem to be paying lip service to it.  In the world of digital marketing, greater transparency becomes necessary because of the easier access to information, the enhanced opportunities to investigate and, most emphatically, the porous nature of the corporate walls.  Total transparency is not the question as it does not make sense for anyone; competitive forces demand secrecy (or at least discretion) on key strategic elements.  However, if your brand is intentionally positioning itself as being “truthful,” then it is provoking the person who is looking for a clear (and clean) communication.  As has been written many times, marketing has a real trust issue.  That’s not new news.  However, it seems that many marketers — even in big business — still do not heed the lessons.  Here’s my take via the Naked Juice case.

Naked = Transparent

I’m sure that the original creative brief for this brand was to come up with a name that said “pure” without actually being allowed to call it pure.  So, they came up with Naked Juice.  Pure with a twist?  However, the implicit thought with the brand name Naked Juice is that they are baring all to us.  The naked truth?  This is certainly the impression they want to give when they write:  “all natural” and “100% juice smoothie.”  Calling on the laws of nature, they write: “Shake well! separation is natural.”

Deceiptful marketing claims

Naked Juice ingredients, The Myndset Brand Strategy and Digital marketing

For starters, the name of the product is Strawberry Banana, although the second most important ingredient is apple juice (you might say cynically: as usual). Digging a little digger into the small print, you can just hear the internal marketing teams conjuring up an accumulation of “great” lines. For example, they write “no added sugar” and “vegan”…

  1. Here’s the first problem: the “no added sugar” is masking a wickedly high level of sugar (albeit from “natural” sources).  With the Naked Juice Strawberry/Banana flavor (right), there is more sugar in the 450ml bottle (44g) than a 355ml Coke (39g).  Ouch!  The part that got my goat was that they write in the nutrition facts “Sugars 23g;” but, that is for half the bottle.  (There are just under 2 servings per bottle).
  2. Secondly, the problem is that writing “vegan” at this point probably conjures up more concerns than not.  I mean, if the juice is 100% juice, doesn’t that just ipso facto mean vegan?  Who are they trying to convince?  Themselves?

In the small print on the bottom of the bottle, they do write: “All sugars are found naturally in the fruit.  Not a low calorie food.”  I think, in the first place, it would be more fair to call out a HIGH SUGAR CONTENT.  With 250 calories, equal to nearly six Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, I think it could safely be called HIGH CALORIE FOOD.

Digital marketing transparency

When I took a prolonged look at the Naked Juice site, I was absolutely floored by the number of basic mistakes the team is making.  Herewith a selection of the best mistakes.

Fresh News

Well, if their fruit is as fresh as their latest news… I wasn’t impressed with their latest PR releases.

Naked Juice Latest Fresh New, The Myndset Digital Marketing
Fresh news on 18 August 2011

Naked Juice … Naked on Twitter

When you click on the “follow the chatter” button, you find the social media presence of Naked Juice.

Naked Juice on Twitter, The Myndset Digital Marketing Transparency

And, naked they are… although they have amassed 18K followers on Twitter and do tweet regularly, they apparently have failed to keep the API up-to-date on their site…  Whoops.

The (naked) truth behind Naked Juice

Naked Juice is a subsidiary of PepsiCo, but you have to scratch hard to find that out.  There is no “About Us” that explains that fact transparently on their site.  You can tell, though, by the URL for the Contact Us section (shared services):  Even on the UK site for Naked Juice, where there is an About Us section, no mention is made of Pepsi.  On the PepsiCo site, you will find a bit more.  {FYI, Pepsi purchased Naked Juice in 2007.}

What the ‘net says about Naked Juice

Proof that where there is smoke, there may be fire, I found trolling through the net that there is a lawsuit against Naked Juice, on similar points that I have raised above. And, if you take a look at the “chatter” on Facebook, where they have more than 730K fans, there are more than a few recalcitrant voices.  The banter against Naked Juice refers to their potentially using GMOs in their product, despite having written on their pack “non-GMO.”  I don’t know enough to affirm or deny this, but clearly, all is not peachy keen in their Naked Fruit. The bottom line: if you want to position as the “pure” or “natural” choice, you had better be able to back up your claims.  Secondly, if you want to strengthen your digital marketing strategy, you had better be good in the first place.  At $5.53 (the price I paid for this bottle), I think that the added value (not sugar) has yet to be proven.

What do you think?  Are you convinced?

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