Welch’s grape juice is taking out full-page print ads in People magazine this month that give readers a chance to sample its grape juice by licking the ad. The front of the advertisement shows a huge bottle of the juice, while the back has a strip that peels up and off, with text that reads: "For a TASTY fact, remove & LICK."
Marketers are excited about the prospects for lickable ads, but also have to deal with the "ick" factor. Since magazines are often passed from reader to reader (think doctors’ offices) there is a good chance that saliva could be left on the ad. Readers are supposed to peel off the entire sticker on the Welch’s ad before licking, says First Flavor, the company that developed the technology used in the ad. If someone doesn’t rip off the whole sticker, First Flavor says, the flap can’t reseal, giving people an easy way to know whether the ad has already been licked.
Welch’s says it suspects some folks will pass on the free taste test. "A lot of people won’t lick a magazine no matter how good it tastes," says Chris Heye, Welch’s marketing chief.
The company, which is owned by a cooperative of grape growers, says it went to great lengths to make sure the ad tasted good and that the ingredients used in the lickable strip met safety guidelines laid out by the Food and Drug Administration. It says it spent weeks conducting consumer taste tests and enlisted more than 50 company employees to try the lickable ad. The ad was created by WPP Group’s JWT.