Jones Soda regularly releases limited edition beverage flavors (ie. Christmas flavors, Thanksgiving flavors, etc) and this year is no exception. The flavors for this year’s Christmas season are: Gingerbread, Pear Tree, Candy Cane and Sugar Plum. More information can be found from marketwatch here, and BevReview.com has a photo here. Since these links can give you more information on the product pricing and look, BevWire won’t repeat that information. What is interesting to me is Jones Soda’s marketing aspect for the seasonal flavors.
Marketwatch explains that the company decided on the flavors through the use of social media, by having their fans and loyalists vote on some flavors and then manufactured the flavors that were the most popular. The voting results can be see here on their website, where over 4000 votes were placed to determine the top 4 flavors for the 2011 Christmas holidays. While I’m not too familiar with the annual custom flavors that Jones produces for Christmas, some of these flavors appear to have appeared in previous years. Therefore the voters would likely vote for the flavors that they preferred the most from past years and re-live the glory of the Gingerbread, Pear Tree, Candy Cane and Sugar Plum flavors. From the company’s perspective, a great low-cost way to generate excitement and buzz about the flavors, and also to ensure that its flavors that will sell out among the constituents since they voted for these flavors. While some of these flavors are novelty flavors, others actually sound like they would taste good. Some of these flavors may one day be added to their regular product line-up.
With the ability to vote and have their voices heard by Jones Soda, consumers may have the power to dictate whether some of these flavors will one day sit alongside the company’s most popular flavors of Green Apple, Cream Soda and Root Beer. Not unlike any other business, Jones Soda is constantly looking for low cost opportunities to tap into what their customers like best about them and how they can better satisfy their needs. By using social media to connect with their core audience and giving them a voice on which flavors they would most prefer to drink this winter, Jones minimizes the risk of having these flavors fail or sit in the storage room of some grocery store. The ultimate dream may be to have a determined shopper going into a grocery store, not finding the product on the shelf and asking the store manager to bring the product into the store. This ultimately helps the soda manufacturer get into more outlets and ensures that there is existing demand when they bring the product reaches the retail level.
All in all, a great way to first create excitement for the product before its even available. Have the loyalists decide what will work best, then produce and sell the winning flavors for a limited time as a test run, and make them permanent if the sales surpass targets and can remain on store shelves without losing any other better selling Jones Soda flavors. Normally an option to purchase Jones soda online for Canada, Jones Soda alerts shoppers that they will suspend customer-direct shipping since our winters may cause product freezing. If these limited edition flavors were to be purchased, the shopper must go to an authorized retailer or will likely have to head south of the border.
While BevWire doesn’t have any plans to head down to the United States this winter, I’m hoping to find some of these limited edition flavors at my local grocery store, so keep an eye out on the twitter feed for some Jones Soda Gingerbread or Pear Tree pictures!