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Omi’s ApfelStrudel Juice: Tasty Marketing from Austria

At this week’s Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City, thousands of treats from brands around the world tempted media, industry, and consumer tastebuds. Packed like sardines from aisle to aisle at the expansive Jacob Javits Center, each food and beverage item employed different marketing tactics to try and grab the attention of many different audiences. From special guest stars and parties thrown on big-brand budgets to bootstrapping creativity, most brands seemed to understand that it takes more than just “good taste” to make it in the Big Apple.

Speaking of apples, an apple-inspired concoction from Europe was of the more unique products, and it had the branding and marketing to match. Omi’s ApfelStrudel comes to America from Austria, where the hills are alive with The Sound of Music. There, the word for “Grandma” is “Omi.” And while many an American Grandma has legendary apple pie baking skills, Austrian Omis are renowned for their apple strudel prowess. “Everyone loves to eat apple strudel baked by their Omi, so why not enjoy that same wonderful flavor in a healthy drink you can have any time, hot or cold?” asked Dr. Ries Bouwman, CEO of Omi’s ApfelStrudel. He added, “It’s 100% fruit juice with no added sugar, artificial colors or preservatives. Because Omi wouldn’t like that.” Judging by the overwhelmingly positive response of those tasting samples at the booth, it looks like Omi may be onto something good.

The product and the brand name are clearly inspired by the goodness of grandma…and the marketing follows suit (or dirndl, as the case may be). Combining authenticity (after all, Omi’s ApfelStrudel comes fresh pressed from an Austrian farm) with the positive praise that is synonymous with a grandmother’s constant love, the brand image and marketing campaign achieve a rare feat: the creation of a corporate persona that feels almost real. The campaign’s central figure, a hand-drawn Omi who could have come straight from the pages of an 1950s magazine, has a signature catch phrase: “Omi Loves You!” Forget high-tech executions; here, potential “Grandchildren” (as @OmisApflStrdl refers to her followers) of all ages feel the warmth of a grandmother’s love. Bottleneck hangers feature Omi-like sayings, including “My Favorite” and “Vitamin Bomb.” Rubber bracelets exclaiming “Omi Loves You!” let fans carry this positive emotion with them wherever they go. So whether it’s in person, in store, or online, the omnipresent Omi emotion carries through…and show attendees were drinking it up.

That emotional connection can be one of the most difficult things for a brand to find, but that’s where Omi’s ApfelStrudel started…and that is probably why it is working so far. “When we created this, we had to think about what Omi would want,” said Bouwman. The brand also had to think about what potential consumers would want, and so far this natural apple juice with a hint of cinnamon is hitting the spot in much of Europe.

Will Americans say “Willkommen” to this new beverage brand marketing? Will the allure of the Alps call to “Grandchildren” young and old across the 50 states, or will the feeling be lost in translation? It may be worth some brand research at this stage to see whether or not putting an Americana twist on Omi strengthens the tug at the US consumer’s heartstrings. Grandma’s Apple Pie may be more of an immediate connection than Omi’s Apple Strudel; or perhaps the specialty nature of Alpine farming and tradition is more intriguing and therefore offers stronger breakthrough potential. Either way, the Omi is one good apple (or Apfel).

~ Denise Blasevick, @AdvertGirl & CEO, The S3 Agency

Note: This article first appeared in my Examiner.com column. Please follow me there too!


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