Stay Up-To-Date, Stay Connected, Stay Kind-Hearted

Sparkling Ice takes a quick reaction toward Covid-19, transferring challenge to opportunity.

Marketing in the Age of Digital
3 min readMar 13, 2021


It is hard not to react to this almost universal pandemic for any company; It is also hard for brands to pivot marketing strategies instantly and wisely. Sparkling Ice, fortunately, has grasped the challenge and turned it into an opportunity.

For those who are not familiar with Sparkling Ice: Sparkling Ice produces fruit flavor beverages with zero sugar. Naturally colored and full of vitamins and antioxidants, the drinks are tasty and healthy. Sparkling Ice is a division of the Talking Rain Beverage Company whose products sell in nationwide retail stores.

Cheers To Heroes

Sparkling Ice has been supporting military veterans with the Honor Flight Networks for almost five years. Every year, the campaign takes place to provide veterans trips to Washington, D.C., to see the war memorials built in their honor.

In 2020, a totally different year, the campaign includes not only military veterans but also in the front lines who have been fighting in the pandemic, called Cheers To Heroes. People who can be nominated include doctors, nurses, teachers, farmers, postmen, etc. Customers are encouraged to nominate their friends, families, and acquaintances. Both the ones who recommended a friend and the one being nominated will win the rewards.

People have been responding to the campaign actively. Being tired of the cruelness brought up by the covid-19 pandemic, everyone wants to show their compassion and see other’s kindness. Sparkling Ice wisely connected its customers together and made them feel the warmth. And the brand, therefore, is connected to its customers. When everyone stays at home and isolated from others, people crave connection with others. Sparkling Ice did not reach out straightforwardly, saying, “let’s connect,” It instead build rapport by displaying the same empathy and humanity with its audience. Such a brand image facilitates not only in the short-term but is also farfetched.

Giving & Sharing Campaign

In October 2020, Sparkling Ice pitched another campaign called “Giving & Sharing.” Customers are welcomed to register and upload the receipts of qualifying orders at the Sparkling Ice Rewards site. They will then choose from four charities that Sparkling Ice has pre-selected, and $1 will be donated to the selected charity. Some of the charities are to help people who suffered from the covid-19 pandemic.

It is clever of Sparkling Ice to collaborate with four charities as people are more satisfied with more options. Rather than simply inviting customers to donate, they are welcomed to choose based on their own preferences. Plus, the competition among those charities will benefit Sparkling Ice from attracting more customers. I always think that donation with orders is like a classic conditioning. Customers will unconsciously build a connection between beverage orders and charity. Even if they stopped the campaign for a while, it is easier for them to start a new charity campaign as customers have memories.

Sparkling Ice’s Future Marketing

Sparkling Ice is lucky enough to have most of its marketing strategies placed online. When the pandemic hit, they take reaction quickly to rebuild the connection with customers. Chris Hall, the CEO of Sparkling Ice maker Talking Rain, said in this interview, “Instead of more out-of-home consumption, there was more in-home consumption… Our brands were naturally more available to the consumer if they were shopping for home.” He is positive toward the brand’s distribution channel and digital marketing mode.

Sparkling Ice has a great prospect based on its series reaction on the pandemic. But the question for it, or for every brand, is, how long will customers behavior last? Will customers keep shopping online in 2021? When will they start out-of-home consumption? I think we will soon get the answer as the vaccine rolling out to everyone.