Friday, May 8, 2009

Jones Soda GABA gets back to Guerilla Marketing

By Matthew Wall

Jones Soda Co. launched its latest product in February of this year at the Expo West. Made with PharmaGABA, Jones GABA is set to extend its positioning with this healthy energy drink. Said to increase Focus and Clarity, GABA has become incredibly popular in Japan in the last decade. (

“Jones GABA is a revolutionary, great-tasting beverage,” said Joth Ricci, chief operating officer of Jones Soda in an official statement. “It has a rare distinction in the functional beverage marketplace. Its benefits can be felt within five minutes and have been shown to last for hours. Jones GABA helps people feel more relaxed and focused, allowing them to perform at their peak.”

Health Mad describes the benefits this way: “As any psychology major knows, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a key neurotransmitter that regulates brain functionality. Among other things, GABA is a natural calming agent.” (Health Mad:

Having proven its success in Japan, Jones Soda is set to capitalize on the North American Market with its exclusive rights to PharmaGABA in drink form. Between 2004 and 2006, sales increased five fold in Japan reaching total sales of $122 Million US in 2006. (BevNet:

This is good news for Jones Soda Co. who reported year over year revenue decrease of 25% in Q1 of 2009. Promotion allowances and slotting fees increased slightly by roughly $150,000 and finished product case sales declined by 30% offset only slightly by the release of JonesGABA. (Food Biz Daily:

Jones Soda is well positioned to see GABA through and see large success. With the economy bearing down, carving out budget for new product promotions is difficult enough. But Jones has the leg up with their experience in Guerilla Marketing.

Here are a few things Jones is doing right:

Targeted Rollout: Pilots are beginning early spring on about 5 University Campuses to promote the benefits of Jones GABA in study, focus and clarity. Jones plans a product rollout at up to 40 campuses this year alone timing promotions around finals.

Brand Ambassadors: Jones has always had a particular knowledge of how to transform dedicated customers into Ambassadors. Students on University Campuses may be given samples to hand out. Also Jones Soda has already run a contest with Zooppa to spark viral videos featuring Jones GABA (view the winning ad here: Finally with people like the producers at Fallon shamelessly shouting the benefits of Jones GABA, there is no way the product will find its niche (Follow the Fallon Blog here:

Rollout in Canada is expected later this year. Currently the product is available at Metropolitan Market in Seattle. Make sure to try this product when you can. I enjoyed it, particularly the apple.



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