Spreading “Brand Evangelism”__»

July 22, 2010

We don—t usually write about microcaps but we like to watch how jargon, buzzwords and slang gradually infiltrate the filings. So we made an exception for DNA Brands, Inc. (FPRD), formerly known as Famous Products, Inc.

The company’s recent 8-K caught our attention because it used the phrase —brand evangelists. It’s a phrase you can find examples of online, as far back as 2007, and back in the bad old days, when the cult of Apple (AAPL) was a smidgen smaller, Guy Kawasaki served as its all-but-official evangelist (though we don’t think he put “brand” in front of the title). But until now, no company seems to have used it in an SEC filing.

DNA Brands makes and sells three carbonated blends of DNA Energy Drinks, as well as a meat snack line featuring two flavors of beef jerky and three flavors of beef sticks. The company distributes its products (or soon will) in about 15 states. Basically, it’s trying to compete against big companies, but on a shoestring budget.

And that’s where the —brand evangelists come in. These devoted disciples spread the good word about the miraculous properties of DNA’s energy drink. The filing explains:

“[Sample programs]— created our core grass roots loyal followers who are now our first line of brand evangelists as they move to the action sports shops and see our branded DNA_© coolers. We then extend our expansion to the next geographic target. Together with our action sports individual athlete and team endorsements, our brand evangelists in hand and our developing interactive web component, our marketing program is also geared to create a viral effect both within and outside our target demographic—.

DNA Brands is pursuing about 90 million possible converts — young, hip consumers, especially men between 18 and 39. The company explained:

—This group tends to be on the cutting edge of style and have a profound influence on cultural trends and fashion. They are individualistic and tend to avoid corporate culture in favor of personal individual expression. They are extreme, risk takers, can spot the next —next— in the culture and are quick to try it. They quickly adopt it and spread the word if they like it and are as quick to toss it aside if it compromises their integrity and individuality.

Company van drivers give away free samples through DNA’s —Cans in Hands promotion. It also sponsors a super cross team and up-and-coming athletes (who are less famous, but also less expensive to hire). These strategies, the company says, beat pouring millions of dollars into the —top down advertising” favored by highly capitalized brands with seemingly unlimited resources.

The company is optimistic, noting that Anheuser Busch’s Florida distributors may buy its drink (now that Monster Energy Drink defected to Coca Cola). It’s also getting shelf space in stores like Walgreens, CVS, and 7-Eleven. It inked deals with some major league sports teams, and it believes that the military will start selling its meat snacks in September.

Of course, this could all be so much of fizz in the end — it tastes more like optimistic boosterism than concrete results so far. But soon enough, we’ll know how well —brand evangelism spreads as a catchphrase in the filings, even if the sales results take a little longer to quantify.

Image source: Chascow via Flickr

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