Charlotte Ashburner, PepsiCo: The Naked truth about marketing

PepsiCo's senior marketing manager discusses the Naked brand's new partnership with Spotify, Snapchat and TikTok.

Naked smoothies

Could you give us an overview of Naked’s marketing strategy?

At Naked, we know that each product and brand starts and ends with a real person and the team spends a lot of time listening to our audiences, so the brand is relatable and authentic.

Our approach is to craft an insight-led strategy that captures the attention of our audience and helps establish meaningful connections, whether that’s through an authentic brand experience, communications campaign or by simply creating new products that people tell us they want.

In 2020 we repositioned Naked and created a whole new brand visual identity, with a new brand campaign called ‘Be More Naked’. By taking the time to listen to our audience, we understand they want to feel more liberated in their day-to-day- but sometimes just need a little bit of help. It’s so important for Naked to help people feel good about themselves and, to bring this to life, we launched short-form content and established exciting partnerships with TikTok and Spotify.

Charlotte Ashburner, PepsoCo

Charlotte Ashburner, senior marketing manager, PepsiCo.

What kind of brand positioning are you hoping to achieve for Naked?

Once the Naked team had completed the repositioning work, moving the brand into a positively disruptive space for the category, we knew the only agency who could bring our new positioning to life for us was Brave.

Naked has always been the boldest smoothie when it comes to innovation, ingredients and flavours and ‘Be More Naked’ gave us the perfect platform to inspire our audiences to embrace more moments of boldness, each and every day. Be More Naked is a positive mantra to live life by, celebrating the courage it takes to try and not let the outcome take away from how proud you should be of yourself for having that moment of boldness.

This new campaign is a bold move for Naked and marks the first time we’ve worked with partners like Spotify and TikTok or activated a PR campaign to support our new positioning, which we’re sure will resonate with consumers and shoppers.

‘Be More Naked’ is an ethos we should all try to live by – to be bold and liberated so we can be the most authentic, versions of ourselves. Not being afraid to show vulnerability and not being afraid to say how we’re really feeling. The campaign is really all about championing everyone to be their bold ‘Naked’ selves.

The UK Government introduced a ‘sugar tax’ in 2018. How have government measures against sugary drinks affected Naked’s marketing and messaging?

We know our customers have become increasingly health-conscious – some may want a traditional drink while others prefer a low-sugar option and within our portfolio there is an option for everyone. Naked’s on-pack messaging clearly lists out all the nutritional information in each drink empowering our customers to choose a drink that fits within their lifestyle choices.

With Naked, the only sugar you’ll find in our smoothies are sugars occurring naturally in the delicious fruit, so this particular brand wasn’t impacted by the sugar tax. Yet we always look to adapt and craft new flavours, especially in response to consumers becoming more conscious of their sugar and calorie intake, so we recently launched Naked Lean. This is the UK’s first naturally lower-sugar smoothie in grocery retail and will help people who want to reduce their sugar and calorie intake.

PepsiCo is launching Driftwell, a new drink aimed at helping to aid sleep, in the USA in December 2020. What kind of work goes into the launch of a new brand?

To launch a new brand and create a product that positively disrupts the market to become a household name is incredibly tough, especially when the world around us changes so quickly. It’s a constantly evolving market and we work hard to keep our eye on the latest cultural and consumer trends to create and develop products that people want.

At Naked, our insights team helps us to develop a deep understanding about our customers and what they genuinely want and need. We are constantly trying to connect with people and bring out new products that plug a gap in the market.

The Naked brand had humble beginnings; it started as a small business in 1983 selling smoothies to Santa Monica sunbathers from an ice-filled backpack, and by taking chances and being bold, grew into the brand it is today. At Naked, we believe in helping people make bold choices that lead to positive lifestyles and we continue to champion this nearly forty years later. Our brand heritage is all about being real and relatable and our most recent campaign ‘Be More Naked’ is all about being authentic, real and making slightly bolder choices.

Naked is releasing content to tease the launch of the brand’s new digital ad, as well as the brand’s first partnership with Spotify, TikTok and Snapchat. Why did you decide to partner with them and what does the partnership entail?

In the new ‘Be More Naked’ campaign we are excited to introduce Naked’s first ever partnership with Spotify and TikTok.

The partnerships will focus on our newest product, Naked Zing breakfast smoothies, and will include the creation of bespoke, branded ads, which will be served to consumers as part of a morning-focused Naked Zing strategy. In addition to this, the Spotify audio spots will also run as part of morning-specific ‘Getting Ready’ playlists, and we have partnered with prominent TikTok creators to develop content aiming at kick-starting people’s mornings.

We felt that these partnerships were perfect for Naked’s ‘Be More Naked’ campaign as they all greatly appeal to our audience and really embody the boldness we hope to communicate with this campaign.

Naked recently announced a switch to using 100% recycled bottles. What was the thinking behind this?

The brand has a vision to help build a world where plastics need never become waste and always recycled. We’re working to reduce the amount of plastic that we use, supporting recycling to build a circular economy, and reinvent the plastic packaging we use.

We’re currently the only smoothie (or juice) brand in UK grocery retail that uses bottles made from 100% recycled plastic, and the bottle is also widely recyclable, meaning Naked helps to reduce the amount of plastic going to landfill.

Our new bottles empower our customers to make the choice to be more sustainable in their shopping, and we urge people to help us reduce plastic waste by recycling our bottles after enjoying their favourite fruit-boosting smoothies.

What are the main things COVID-19 and lockdown have taught you as a marketer?

The coronavirus pandemic had a huge impact on the marketing industry across the world. Brands need to be relevant, real, and be ready to adapt quickly as the world changes. At Naked, we need to ensure our products and campaigns serve a genuine purpose and have enough flexibility to adapt when needed in an unpredictable landscape.

We knew that people were feeling stressed and pressured during the pandemic and we wanted to make a real impact. And so Naked launched the Bold O’Clock challenge, encouraging people to take time out and find a bit of ‘me time’ in their day. All from the comfort of home or a safe outdoor space to help rejuvenate and recharge themselves.

One example of Naked adapting to people’s new habits is recalibrating our marketing plans this year during coronavirus to reflect the fact that people are working at home and spending less time outside, so to get our message across we increased the use of in-home media as data shows that TV viewership and digital media consumption significantly increased during the first lockdown.

While TV has settled back towards normal consumption patterns, digital media usage remains over 30% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

What marketing plans does Naked have for the rest of the year and into 2021?

There are lots of exciting plans in the pipeline for the rest of 2020 and into 2021; we’ve just launched our six-second teaser videos, established the Spotify and TikTok partnerships and kicked-off our PR campaign “Be More Naked”. Two full digital ads will launch in February 2021 so watch this space for more exciting content and activity around this. In addition to this, we’re also preparing a very exciting innovation and expansion of our core range for Spring 2021 – the first core launch in 10 years.

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