December 16, 2022 | By Julian Cannon

Ivy Liu

Spindrift is investing its marketing dollars in TikTok as part of its efforts to connect with consumers and increase brand recognition among the Gen Z cohort.

Spindrift took a similar approach to Supergut and Chosen Foods over the last year, mainly focusing on organic growth on Instagram and Twitter. But the amount of time Gen Z consumers spend on TikTok has increased over the last few years, so the brand has decided to switch up its marketing efforts, ad spend and content strategy to produce its own long-form and short-form creative videos for TikTok.

“TikTok allows us to express a different dimension of our brand voice, become a part of culture while driving brand awareness and rewards creativity by delivering content to an uncapped audience, making it a key community growth driver for us in a way that other social platforms do not,” Melissa Shum, senior director of consumer marketing at Spindrift, said of the brand’s choice of TikTok as its primary social platform.

By utilizing its TikTok page, Spindrift engages with its fans and gives them access to behind-the-scenes content, cooking classes, virtual events, in-person events, merchandise and, of course, the product itself. Shum said that 95% of the brand’s ad spend went to social media and 5% went to paid search for its overall ad spend. With that said, it is unclear how much of Spindrift’s advertising budget is allocated to TikTok in particular, as Shum declined to share overall budget specifics. According to Pathmatics data, the brand spent a little over $747,000 so far on advertising efforts in 2022.

By using a more organic approach to social media, Shum said Spindrift believes it is engaging in more community-based marketing through that channel. “Word-of-mouth is core to our marketing strategy and our social campaigns are our strongest vehicle that we believe helps inspire advocacy via a warm referral of Spindrift to a friend,” said Shum.

Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool for Spindrift — a survey of the brand’s community revealed that the majority of its customers learned about the brand from friends who had already tried its products, Shum said. “We believe we can continue to spread brand awareness by building a community of engaged brand advocates who love the brand so much they will tell everyone about Spindrift on our behalf,” Shum added, commenting on how the approach has been working so far.

“Word-of-mouth is core to our marketing strategy and our social campaigns are our strongest vehicle that we believe helps inspire advocacy via a warm referral of Spindrift to a friend,” said Shum.

Related to Spindrift’s word-of-mouth efforts, the brand also has a sales team dedicated to making sure its retail displays are appealing for shoppers who encounter them in U.S. grocery stores.

During Thanksgiving week, Spindrift partnered with influencers @Traderjoelist (Natasha Fischer) and actress Kat Dennings to introduce the brand’s spiced apple cider flavor through short-form TikTok videos. Although the financial agreement was not disclosed, the brand partnered with @Traderjoelist due to the account’s growing and engaged community on TikTok (124,000 followers, to be exact) that represents Spindrift’s core audience. Kat Dennings, who, it turns out, authentically loves Spindrift, is one of the brand’s newer partners.

The goal of partnering with influencers is for Spindrift to reach a new audience outside of the food and beverage category. “These are all influencers we’ve developed an authentic relationship with over time and consist of micro-tier all the way to celebrity,” said Shum. “They are all super fans of the brand and considered the biggest advocates from our community, who are always the first to try and receive the new flavor ahead of the launch announcement.”

According to Shum, Spindrift’s TikTok announcement for the spiced apple cider flavor was its best-performing announcement on the platform outside of Spiked (the brand’s alcoholic offering). As a result, Spindrift sold through nearly 50% of its inventory on the first day of the flavor’s launch, and it sold out entirely within 10 days. “Seventy-four percent of visitors to our site were new visitors with sparkling spiced apple cider bringing existing and future Spindrift drinkers curious about our new seasonal flavor to our site,” said Shum.

“Spindrift’s content strategy for teasing the new product flavors has been really fun to watch,” said Cassie Petrey, CEO and co-founder of social media marketing and music management firm Crowd Surf. “The campaign provided an adequate amount of time to anticipate the product and it’s the perfect amount of time to tease a new product’s arrival.”

“Spindrift is taking the best of Pepsi vs. Coke and Red Bull’s Guerilla advertising with [user-generated content] to make a baby of diverse, authentic and hilarious content,” added Lauren Petrullo, CEO and founder of digital marketing agency Mongoose Media. “This is a gold mine of content showcasing real humans trying a real product and their content is speaking to entertaining trends that ends up also being educational.”