Is digital marketing transparency necessary? See if Naked Juice = Naked Truth

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Some brands have latched onto the concept of digital marketing transparency, integrating rapid response mechanisms, an open Naked Juice Strawberry Banana, Digital Marketing Transparencysocial 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 marketingFor 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): https://cu.pepsico.com/nakedjuice.  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. Read here: Lawsuit against Naked Juice (Sept 2011).  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?

  • yendi

    Most people overlook the calories in fruit juices assuming it is not as rich as eating a cake. Most people do not read the ingredients. Fruit cocktails are essentially made from apple juice, the mango, or the passion fruit is not the main ingredient. Fruit juices are not equivalent to eating a fruit. They are more convenient and fast. In a certain way, they are fast food, not fat, but sweet, very sweet.

    • http://twitter.com/mdial @mdial

      love the idea that it should be considered "fast food"

  • Joakim Nilsson

    Classic! It’s just getting increasingly difficult for companies to hide their dirty secrets. Isn’t Tropicana owned by PepsiCo as well?

    I think brands like pret-a-manger does a great job in living up to their promise, just feels imp that a company like PepsiCo would be able to pour out natrual good stuff…

    • http://twitter.com/mdial @mdial

      They have evidently had a change of strategy to try to "be natural" in their non core lines … as opposed to trying to add natural into their brands such as Pepsi, Frito…

  • MWeise1

    Virtues of regard, especially that of truthfulness, seem to escape some in the marketing world. However, customer awareness is now more easily attained through the technologies of today, and it is my opinion, that once the truth is realized, those in deceptive and non-transparent marketing will reap what they sow. And for good reason.

  • http://twitter.com/mdial @mdial

    Hi @Mweise1: Totally Agreed. As the customers get wiser to how to use the web to investigate (check sources, etc), the most urgent need will be for brands and businesses to deliver on their promise(s)… and behind that the need for greater transparency… internally as well as externally.