Jamba Juice Juices Up Its Budget for Promotion

Looking to get back  to its roots in local communities, only now with  year-round food options, Jamba Juice will invest $30 million this fall in a “Feel Good Moments” promotional campaign that will be conducted out-of-home and online.

The chain, best known for its smoothies, will distribute 30 million “Feel Good Bucks” through street teams, direct mail, brand partners and online. Recipients must bring their Bucks into Jamba Juice shops to  learn the value, which ranges from $1 to $10,000. The Bucks are good for $1 to $25 off food purchases and larger cash  prizes. The promotion runs Oct. 5 through Jan. 4.

The ad spend is a significant change from last year when Jamba spent just $1.5 million in measured media, according to Nielsen Co. That figure does not include Internet advertising.

Through a sweepstakes element, three people will win a self-designed Feel Good Moment, such as a Hawaiian vacation or the repayment of a school loan-—pretty much anything within legal limits, $10,000 and reason. (Checking the value of a Buck is free, but to receive the cash or prize, the patron must  make a purchase.)

The 730-store chain will send its Bananaman mascot out as a “Feel Good  Ambassador” to high-traffic locations in New York, Chicago and Los  Angeles. In addition to distributing the Bucks, he will do good deeds,  such as give First Class airline ticket upgrades and fill up people’s gas tanks.

Those who don’t run into Bananaman or get a mailer can print a Feel Good Buck through an app at the brand’s Facebook page.

“The backdrop is America’s not feeling so great these days and Jamba Juice is a brand that brings people together and refreshes them,” said  James White, president/CEO. “We’re trying to translate that in-store experience outside our stores” at a time when people are screaming for more value.

Additionally, the company’s mission is to be “America’s healthiest QSR” while taking the seasonality out of our business to improve year-round  sales. Jamba Juice added oatmeal last winter and now has wraps and  food fare at about 300 locations.

The Emeryville, Calif.-based Jamba Juice was one of the country’s rising chains in the mid-’90s with a very parochial marketing plan—most marketing occurred within a two-  to three-mile radius of each location—but it has struggled a bit as it has switched to a media strategy that is national in scope.

The return to a more local strategy is intentional. The company also hopes  to reverse its owned/franchised ratio, which is about 70 to 30. Recent growth has been in opening franchises at colleges, airports and other nontraditional outlets. 

Jamba Juice’s better-for-you message will tie in to the promotion  through in-store signage and other collateral. “Part of feeling good is about doing things that are good for your body,” said Kim Larson,  vp-marketing. “That is one of our core messages-—being healthy and active feels good.”

Social networking is also becoming a key communication tool. While  Jamba Juice’s Facebook fan page was started by a team member rather
than its marketing or public relations department, it has grown from  about 65,000 members at the beginning of this year to 309,000 today.

The page gets about 3,000 new fans a week. “Facebook will be a primary place for us to showcase the Feel Good Moments as well as show our mission,” Larson said. “We try to keep this community interested.”