Nudie gets into bed with McDonald’s

Juice company Nudie has signalled a change in direction for its brand with the announcement of a deal to distribute its product through McDonald’s restaurants in Australia.

Previously known for its edgy marketing campaigns and alternative branding, the move to develop and distribute three new juice products exclusively through McDonald’s will give the Nudie brand significant exposure to mainstream consumers.

Although the deal holds out the prospect of significant volume and profit boost for Nudie, the move is not without risk for its brand, according to Ross Honeywill, the chief executive of consumer and brand research firm The Neo Group.

“I’m sure the deal is too good for them to pass up, but they will need to work very hard to keep the edginess of the brand in terms of positioning in the market elsewhere, and make sure so it’s not eroded by being in McDonald’s,” Honeywill says.

“There are big risks involved in associating with such a mass brand for such a well designed and imaginative brand like Nudie – it really is everything McDonald’s isn’t,” he says. “But they probably will be strong enough to withstand the brand stretch – they’ve just done such a brilliant job in establishing themselves in that alternative area.”

Emma Walsh, the founder and co-owner of rival brand Emma & Tom’s Life Juices, says there are a couple of risks that companies in the sector run in attempting to make a shift to the mainstream.

“The people we focus on are really conscious of health and well-being, and that means keeping ingredients as fresh as possible. All lot of the products you see on supermarket shelves and fast food restaurants compromise on that, because they process the juice in a way that allows it to have longer shelf life – big chains want a shelf life of six months, rather than three weeks for our juices,” Walsh says.

The traditional focus of chains like McDonald’s on children and young teens also differs to that targeted by most health juice brands, according to Walsh.

“Places like McDonald’s are really going towards a younger market and trying to be more fun and cute. That’s quite a different market to people who are looking at being healthy and taking care of themselves,” Walsh says.


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