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    New Ads In New Age As Fuze, SoBe Spar

    Could Coke be entering the fray?

    As SoBe looks to lure more female consumers via its low-cal SoBe Lean summer radio splash, it will get competition in the New Age beverage category from Fuze Beverage, which is launching its first consumer campaign.

    Brandweek reports that the efforts come as rumors have surfaced linking Coca-Cola with Fuze. Coke, which signed a distribution deal with Rockstar energy drinks in April, has said it is taking another look at the New Age juices and tea category. Coke's last New Age bid was its purchase of Mad River in 2001. Fuze denied such discussions. Coke, which already distributes Fuze in parts of the country, declined comment.

    "It wouldn't be surprising if Coke takes another run at the New Age category," said Tom Smallhorn, SoBe vice president-marketing. "Over the years SoBe has withstood Snapple Elements, Mad River and Arizona Rx, so we're ready for whatever comes our way."

    Whether or not Fuze joins Pepsi's archenemy, there is no love lost between the two companies. Roughly 80 percent of Fuze's 40-plus person sales staff are ex-SoBe employees and Bill Meissner, CMO at Fuze, was a SoBe brand manager.

    Fuze will spend $5 million on ads, sampling and publice relations beginning in July as it launches its "Refreshingly Smart" radio/ print campaign. Targeting women aged 18 to 34, the effort positions Fuze as the perfect refreshment for a multi-tasking world.

    SoBe will add a more feminine touch to its $5 million ad campaign beginning May 23. Three "SoBe a better person inside" radio ads introduce Millie, who joins Freddy, a real-life janitor at SoBe agency Fallon, New York, and SoBe spokesman for three years. Outdoor ads will also be more decidedly female with sayings like "Bust out 'yer daisy dukes."

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