Getty
Getty

14 Real Facts About Snapple

Getty
Getty

The quirky beverage company has more than 1000 Real Facts, but we’re only serving up 14 of our own. Twist off the cap and enjoy.

#347. IT WAS FOUNDED BY TWO WINDOW WASHERS AND A HEALTH FOOD STORE OWNER.

Childhood friends Arnold Greenberg and Leonard Marsh, along with Marsh’s brother-in-law Hyman Golden, started the Unadulterated Food Corporation in 1972 to sell all-natural juices to the growing number of health food stores in and around New York City. Because they were low on capital and not 100% confident in the concept (Marsh later told The New York Times he “knew about as much about making juice as I did about making an atom bomb”), all three kept their day jobs—Marsh and Golden at their window washing company, Greenberg at his grocery store on Manhattan’s Lower East side.

#673. THE NAME WAS INSPIRED BY A BAD BATCH OF APPLE JUICE.

Getty

A shipment of carbonated apple juice accidentally fermented in the company’s warehouse, sending bottle caps flying. Seeing the humor in the incident, not to mention an opportunity, the founders combined the distinct sound (“snappy”) with the fruit, and voila, “Snapple” was born.

#293. SALES TOOK OFF WHEN THEY STARTED MAKING ICED TEA.

Sales grew slowly through the '70s and '80s, and it wasn’t until Snapple introduced ready-to-drink iced tea in 1987 that the company really took off. The formula took three years to engineer, and the key to the drink’s success, Greenberg told the Times, was that they heated the tea before chilling it to erase any preservatives. “We made the first ready-to-drink tea that didn’t taste like battery acid,” he said.

#18. HOWARD STERN AND RUSH LIMBAUGH USED TO BE SPOKESMEN.

Both shock jocks used to pitch Snapple on their shows (Limbaugh started for free), and both took credit for its national success. Naturally, when the company pulled its support, neither was very happy. Stern, who lost support because of one too many off-color jokes that offended parent company Quaker Oats, referred to it as “Crapple.”

#945. SO WAS IVAN LENDL.

The tennis star takes on what looks to be a cross between Pauly Shore and John McEnroe in this 1991 ad.

#721. REMEMBER WENDY THE SNAPPLE LADY? SHE WAS A REAL EMPLOYEE.

Wendy Kaufman was a real administrator and letter opener at the company’s Long Island office when an ad executive, who wanted to fashion Snapple’s new ad campaign around a real worker, discovered her. Snapple executives balked at Kaufman’s less-than-svelte appearance, but then the ad man, Richard Kirshenbaum, reminded them that Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O’Donnell were two of the most popular celebrities in America at the time. The ads, which involved Kaufman’s “Snapple Lady” answering customer letters in hilarious fashion, were a hit.

#827. THE COMPANY TOOK A NOSE DIVE IN THE MID ‘90S.

Quaker Oats bought Snapple in 1993 and proceeded to suck the life out of the brand. Quaker had achieved phenomenal success with Gatorade, which it bought for a pittance in the early ‘80s, and it tried giving Snapple the same slick, mainstream marketing treatment. It also attempted to centralize distribution, increase serving sizes, and cut down on some of Snapple’s quirkier drinks like “Kiwi Teawi”. Big mistake.

#459. THEY’VE BEEN SUED SEVERAL TIMES FOR THEIR ‘ALL NATURAL’ CLAIM.

The term is loosely defined by the Food and Drug Administration, and other companies in the crosshairs have included Tropicana, Sun Chips and Ben & Jerry’s. Snapple recently transitioned from high fructose corn syrup to sugar.

#136. THEY WERE THE SUBJECT OF A WEIRD RUMOR INVOLVING THE KKK AND THE BOSTON TEA PARTY.

Starting in 1992, a rumor started swirling that Snapple was in cahoots with the KKK. The evidence: The company’s label, which featured a floating “K” on it and a drawing depicting a line of what were rumored to be slave ships. The “K,” of course, signified the beverage’s kosher status, and the sketch was of the Boston Tea Party. It all sounds incredibly silly, but the rumor gained enough steam that Snapple changed its label and ran ads to refute the claims.

#234. THE COMPANY CLAIMS REAL RESEARCHERS VERIFY ITS REAL FACTS.

Hiding under the cap of every Snapple bottle is an odd, endearing “Real Fact” (#992: The patent for the fire hydrant was destroyed in a fire). And the company claims it fact-checks everything. “They are real facts, and we have teams here that fact-check everything,” David Falk, Snapple’s head of marketing, told The Atlantic. “We go through a pretty vigorous process.” 

#703. AND YET, NUMEROUS FACTS ARE WRONG.

Like #868, which says that Thomas Jefferson invented coat hangers (Monticello’s own website refutes the claim). Or #50: Mosquitos have 47 teeth (they have what’s called a serrated proboscis). Snapple has “retired” some of its facts, either because they were inaccurate (#89. The average American walks 18,000 steps a day—something anyone with a Fitbit and a desk job can refute) or because they’re no longer true (#824. On average a man spends about five months of his life shaving.)

#899. BRITISH SCIENTISTS DISPROVED THE THEORY BEHIND SNAPPLE FACT #36.

A duck’s quack does indeed echo, as proved by a recording and expert analysis conducted by the BBC. Case closed.

#640. THEY’VE HAD SOME SAVVY PRODUCT PLACEMENT.

Including an episode of Seinfeld and this very meta product-endorsement argument on 30 Rock.

#98. THEY’RE NOW OWNED BY THE SAME COMPANY THAT MAKES DR. PEPPER, YOO-HOO AND HAWAIIAN PUNCH.

The Dr. Pepper Snapple Company owns more than 30 beverage brands and has sales upwards of $6 billion. Despite its corporate bedfellows, Snapple’s still been able to rekindle some of that quirky marketing appeal.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
The Popcorn Company That's Creating Jobs for Adults With Autism
iStock
iStock

A New Jersey-based gourmet popcorn company is dedicating its profits to creating new employment “popportunities” for adults on the autism spectrum, A Plus reports.

Popcorn for the People, founded by Rutgers University professor Dr. Barbie Zimmerman-Bier and her husband, radiologist Dr. Steven Bier, is a nonprofit subsidiary of the couple's charitable organization Let’s Work For Good, which focuses on "creating meaningful and lasting employment for adults with autism and developmental disabilities." Recognizing the lack of skilled employment options for adults with developmental disabilities, the Biers decided to create jobs themselves through this popcorn venture, with all of the profits going to their charitable organization. According to the site, every tin of popcorn purchased "provides at least an hour of meaningful employment" to adults with autism and other developmental disabilities, who perform jobs like making popcorn, labeling products, and marketing.

The couple developed the idea for the business and the nonprofit in 2015 when their son, Sam, grew tired of his job at a grocery store. Sam, 27, is on the autism spectrum, and after six years of working as a “cart guy,” he decided he was ready to try something new. Employment opportunities were scarce, though. Jobs that provided enough resources for someone on the spectrum tended to consist of menial work, and more skilled positions involved a tough interview process.

“Some companies mean well, but they are limited in what they can offer,” Steven Bier told TAP Into East Brunswick in 2015.

Unemployment rates are especially high among adults with autism. Last year, Drexel University reported that only 14 percent of autistic adults who use state-funded disability services are employed in paid work positions. And while high-functioning autistic adults are often perfectly capable of working in technical careers, the actual process of getting hired can be challenging. People with autism tend to struggle with understanding nuance and social conventions, which makes the interviewing process particularly difficult.

Enter the Biers' popcorn business. What began in 2015 as the Pop-In Cafe (which still sells popcorn and deli items at its New Jersey location) now distributes flavored popcorn all over the world. In three years, the organization has gone from a staff of four, with one employee on the autism spectrum, to a staff of 50, nearly half of whom are on the spectrum. In July, the organization plans to expand to a larger production facility in order to keep up with demand.

The company provides an environment for employees to learn both hard skills, like food preparation and money management, and what the company describes as “watercooler life skills.”

"There just aren't many programs that teach these sorts of things in a real-world environment, with all that entails," Bier told My Central Jersey. "These are skills that the kids can use here, and elsewhere."

According to A Plus, you can now buy Popcorn for the People in person at locations like the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey and the Lyric Theatre in Times Square. The organization sells 12 flavors of popcorn (including cookies and cream, Buffalo wing, and French toast), all created by Agnes Cushing-Ruby, a chef who donates 40 hours a week to the company.

“I never thought that the little pop-up shop would grow into this,” Sam told A Plus. “It makes me so happy to see we have helped so many people.”

[h/t A Plus]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
IHOb Restaurants
10 Strange Publicity Stunts by Major Food Brands
IHOb Restaurants
IHOb Restaurants

Celebrities have always loved doing crazy things for press—but these days, even corporations will go to extreme lengths to get the word out about their products. Case in point: IHOP's recent attempt to create a little mystery, and sell some burgers, as IHOb. Below you’ll find 10 of the weirdest stunts done to promote mass-produced food items.

1. COLONEL SANDERS RAPPELS DOWN A HIGH-RISE

It’s hard to imagine KFC’s elderly Colonel Sanders doing much outside of eating and talking about his “finger lickin’ good” fried chicken. But in 2011, a man dressed as the Colonel strapped on a harness and rappelled down Chicago’s River Bend building. The Colonel didn't stop at rappelling down the 40-story building; he also handed out $5 everyday meals to window washers. What was KFC’s concept behind this dangerous promotion? They wanted to show the world they were taking lunch to “new heights.”

2. THE WORLD'S LARGEST POPSICLE

Sometimes being the biggest doesn’t mean you’re the best. In 2005, Snapple wanted to make the world’s largest Popsicle to promote their new line of frozen treats. Their plan was to display a 25-foot-tall, 17.5-ton treat of frozen Snapple juice in New York City’s Union Square. However, their plan ended in a sticky disaster. The day Snapple tried to present the Popsicle, New York was experiencing warmer than expected temperatures. The pop melted so quickly that a river of sticky sludge took over several streets. In a city already congested by traffic and tourists, this made Snapple enemy No. 1 that day to the people of New York City.

3. COFFEE CUPS ON CAR ROOFS = FREE COUPONS

A cup of Starbucks coffee
Wikimedia Commons

Starbucks believes in rewarding those who embrace the holiday spirit. In 2005, the Seattle-based coffee giant developed a campaign by which brand ambassadors drove around with replicas of Vente Starbucks cups affixed to their car roofs. If anyone stopped the ambassador to warn them about the coffee cup on their roof, that person received a $5 gift card to Starbucks. Starbucks wanted the world to know being a good samaritan really can pay!

4. MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

Imagine walking the beach and finding a sealed bottle of Guinness. But instead of finding beer inside, you find a note from King Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. In 1959, that happened to people along North America’s Atlantic coast. Guinness wanted to build brand awareness in the area, so they dropped 150,000 sealed Guinness bottles into the ocean. The bottle contained Neptune’s scroll announcing the House of Guinness’s Bi-Centenary as well as a document instructing the reader on how to make a Guinness bottle into a table lamp. While no one got a free beer (boo!), they did walk away with an arts and crafts project.

5. EAU DE FLAME-BROILED

Who can resist the smell of flame-broiled burgers? The answer is most people—at least when it comes in the form of a body spray. Burger King’s 2008 campaign promoting the “scent of seduction” may be one of the weirdest ideas on this list. The fast-food company thought they could capture the world’s attention by creating and advertising a meat-scented cologne called FLAME by BK. Though select New York City stores actually sold the scent, all of this was a tongue-in-cheek campaign to make the 18- to 35-year-old male demographic laugh.

6. HERE COMES THE SUN

London commuters experienced an unexpectedly bright morning during January 2012. Tropicana worked with the art collective Greyworld to create a fake sun promoting their “Brighter Morning” campaign. The "sun," made up of more than 60,000 light bulbs, rose over Trafalgar Square at 6:51 a.m. on a particularly chilly morning. The sun set at 7:33 p.m. Tropicana continued to promote their sun day, fun day by having Londoners sit under the sun with branded sunglasses, deck chairs, and blankets. 

7. AIRPORT STEAK DELIVERY

Some of the craziest publicity stunts can’t be planned. We live in a world of 24/7 social media, and when the Twitterverse gave Morton’s Steakhouse an opportunity, they seized upon it. Before flying from Tampa to Newark, Peter Shankman, an entrepreneur and author, jokingly tweeted at Morton's Steakhouse that he wanted a porterhouse steak to be waiting for him when he landed. As Shankman was a frequent diner and social media influencer, Morton's Steakhouse saw the opportunity to start a conversation—and they went for it: When Shankman touched down in Newark, he was greeted by his car service driver and a Morton’s deliveryman. If only all travelers could experience that happiness in an airport.

8. BUYING THE LIBERTY BELL

April Fools Day gags can be great for brands … or an embarrassment. In 1996, Taco Bell took out an ad in The New York Times saying they bought Philadelphia's Liberty Bell. The ad also informed people of the bell’s new name: "Taco Liberty Bell." Back in the mid-1990s, people couldn’t go on Twitter or Facebook to find out the truth. Instead, they wrote the publication voicing their outrage. The hoax may have worked in getting press coverage (650 print publications and 400 broadcast media outlets publicized the joke), but what does that say about your brand when people actually believe you would rename a historic monument for your own gain?

9. CREATING THE LARGEST MAN-MADE FIRE


Wikimedia Commons

In 2011, the Costa-Mesa based chain El Pollo Loco sent out press releases saying they planned to create the world’s largest man-made fire. Why would they create a fire? El Pollo Loco needed to get the word out about their new flame-grilled chicken. Spectators attending the event were shocked to see that this stunt was actually a commercial shoot for the brand. The chain says they really did attempt to break the record. But many publications have stated the whole promotion was a fraud. Note to brands: When trying to pull off a publicity stunt and a commercial simultaneously, tell everyone your plan in advance.

10. KFC IN SPACE

KFC may just be the king of wild publicity stunts. In 2006, the company created an 87,500-square-foot logo at Area 51 in Rachel, Nevada. The company wanted to be the first brand visible from space. And it was no coincidence they picked a spot near “The World’s Only Extraterrestrial Highway.”

“If there are extraterrestrials in outer space, KFC wants to become their restaurant of choice,” said Gregg Dedrick, former president of KFC Corp. The world is not enough for KFC. They need the entire universe hooked on their Original Recipe.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios