the mix from cgt

The Mix: Mary Jones’ First Dance

Welcome back to The Mix, where we provide a little info, a little insight, and always some interesting stories occurring in and around the consumer goods industry. In this issue:

  • Jones Soda talks entering the decidedly not-so-wild cannabis market
  • Hormel’s first Planters innovation goes heavy on consumer insights
  • We’re getting the band back together in New York

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Not yet a subscriber? Subscribers to The Mix are the first to receive each issue, along with special offers for our events and early looks at our research.  



bohb blair jones soda

Bohb Blair, Chief Marketing Officer, Jones Soda

Craft soda brand Jones Soda, known for its creative consumer engagement tactics like using consumer-submitted and AR-enabled photos on its labels, recently entered the cannabis market with a line of cannabis-infused sodas under the new Mary Jones brand. Though sold only in California for now, the company also plans to bring to market syrups, candies, and bottle-shaped gummies and to expand into other legal-use states.

To support the brand, the company has launched an e-commerce site that sells apparel, including a custom t-shirt maker in which they’ll share the profits with creators. We caught up with their marketing chief to learn more about the launch.

How would you describe Jones Soda to someone unfamiliar with the brand?
Jones Soda is like a new favorite song your best friend sends you, in a glass bottle.

Why the decision to enter cannabis products?
Cannabis needed us. Our flavors, our craft soda know-how and our fun DIY brand ethos are a perfect complement to where the cannabis market is today and, more importantly, is going.

Related Video: CPGs Shifting Into Innovation at High Gear

What's been the feedback from your retail partners?
They are thrilled to see us. Consumers and the trade have been eagerly waiting for the right brands to proudly come into dispensaries. 

How are you shifting your marketing strategies for this new product innovation?
Jones Soda and Mary Jones operate in purposeful discrete ways within our marketing team, ecosystem, and channels. We are careful to ensure the right products are seen by the right audiences while giving Jones fans who are also cannabis shoppers ways to opt-in for news and updates about Mary Jones.

What's the biggest misconception about marketing cannabis products?
Outsiders may think it is the Wild West. On the contrary, it is a highly regulated, strategic, and controlled space. Data-enabled audiences, platform content restrictions and exclusive retail channels require a tight marketing playbook.

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For Your Radar

The Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit is making its return to in-person! Being held at the Westin Grand Central in New York, the premier education and networking event will focus on the topic of “Everywhere Commerce." Learn from the bold who are daring to experiment, and come to CGSM to be astonished by the possibilities of truly being Everywhere. Register today!

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Innovation Inspiration

planters dry roasted

Planters is getting spicy and shaking things up, introducing its first innovation since joining Hormel Foods in 2021. Sweet & Spicy Peanuts are entering the market, featuring a seasoned, salty snack dry-roasted with honey and dried red chili peppers. 

Robbie Koons, brand manager at Planters, tells CGT that the latest effort is a result of “rigorous new flavor development, testing, and perfecting.” Behind it all is a need to meet constantly changing consumer expectations and tastes, and, according to Koons, today’s consumers want bold, multi-dimensional flavors that allow them to branch out from more classic snack aisle offerings. 

A secondary goal? Substance. The product includes 7 grams of protein per serving and more than 30 essential vitamins and minerals. The company is shipping them in two sizes: a 16-oz for grocery and a 1.75-oz for C-stores. 

Planters is supporting the innovation with a comprehensive marketing campaign that will encompass social, online, video, and national TV assets, leveraging the iconic Planters Nutmobile — a 26-foot-long peanut on wheels — to spread the message. The vehicle will be traveling the U.S., equipped with samples for giveaways at retail events, street festivals, and more. 

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From the Feed


The Great Acceptance

From the warehouse to the store to corporate staff, the retail talent search remains fiercely competitive — a challenge that CPGs are all-too-familiar with. RIS News’ just-released special report highlights where retailers are embracing innovation and technology to strengthen and modernize the workforce, incentivize staff loyalty and bolster recruiting efforts, and ultimately create a more powerful consumer experience. Take a look at the report for best practices to adopt within your own organizations, including insight into the important role that DEI plays today. Read more at RIS News


Leveling Up Loyalty

The face of loyalty is quickly shifting. What used to be a straightforward retailer-provided rewards card is transforming into complex tiered programs, many of which provide CGs with opportunities to increase brand visibility and encourage further collaborations with retailers. Nike last year expanded its lucrative membership program into a high-profile relationship with Dick’s Sporting Goods, enabling consumers to connect their membership accounts through the Dick’s mobile app and reap the rewards. David’s Bridal has hinted at product partnerships in the future, as consumers want to benefit from rewards across the entire relevant purchase cycle, and that means more one-stop-shopping ahead.

Somewhat drowned out by the noise of its leadership shakeup, Bed Bath & Beyond launched a new loyalty program that spans across its three banners. It promises early access to new products, discounts, exclusive events, and expert reviews — opportunities for CGs to highlight their products. Read more at RIS News.

One of the Godfathers of Deep Learning Has a Bold New Vision for AI (MIT Technology Review)

This Warehouse Robot Reads Body Language (Wired)

How a Controversial Shipping Law Is Swaying the Price of Gas (FreightWaves)

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Subscribers to The Mix are the first to receive each issue, along with special offers for our events and early looks at our research.