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Tucson Weekly Media Mix

OCTOBER 12, 1998:  EVERY FLAVOR BUT CHEESE: There's a Vancouver-based company that (in spite of its intercontinental marketing blitzkrieg and certain flavors' ambitions for "world domination") still seems like the little guy in the cut-throat market of carbonated beverages. It's called Jones Soda, but don't let that humble moniker fool ya. This ambitious little company not only wants to sell you old-fashioned soda in wacky flavors (and lots of 'em), they're bottling a kinder, happier vision of corporate America. Their mission statement--posted alongside stock options on the Internet--says they want "to be accountable...to be ethical, enthusiastic and passionate...and encourage recycling."

More importantly (in terms of impact, anyway), the folks at Jones have catapulted into the pop-culture mainstream thanks in large part to their marketing genius: Their award-winning labels have captured not only the hearts of your average Gen-X consumer (currently the most lucrative demographic on the planet), but also the attention of media ranging from our own daily war-horse the Arizona Repugnant to glossy Popular Photography magazine.

So what's their secret? Amateurs. That's right--it's image is driven by amateurs. "No hidden meanings, no billion dollar ad campaigns." Hard to believe, considering the Jones empire stretches from the snowy woods of Canada down to New York City (where they've lately tag-teamed the Big Apple in a joint marketing venture with A/X Armani Exchange). And they've hit like a monsoon in Florida, Las Vegas, Washington state and a bevy of outposts in between.

(A link on their website called "Cult of Jones" cites three students from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who drove 3,000 miles to the company's HQ in Vancouver just to see where it all began. But we digress....)

The folks submitting the freshest images enticing the good people of the world to buy more soda are amateur photographers like you, who spy these snazzy bottles on the shelves (locally) at Target, or New York Burrito Co., or the Bruegger's Bagels on River Road, and then read on the side, "Send us your photo, if we like it we will put in on our label." (Send color or black-and-white prints to: Urban Juice & Soda Co., 1356 Frances St., Vancouver, BC, Canada V5L 1Y9.)

For those who still lament the loss of Pleasure Time, a bottling company that used to distribute its happy sodas from a warehouse near the downtown area, Jones' snappy 12-ounce bottles of Vanilla Cola, Blue Bubble-gum, Green Apple, Strawberry Lime, Fufu Berry and Cream Soda (in addition to the usual grape, orange and root beer) are a welcome mix of nostalgia and the Next Big Thing. For more info, crawl around their cute web page at www.jonessoda.com. Yes indeedy, that global market is just a log-on away!

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