They are the most hard working, results driven PR team I have ever worked with.

—Jane Prior, Chief Marketing Officer

Dittoe Public Relations Leads Vita Coco to a 216% Increase in Media Placements in 2020

The Challenge

In 2020, Dittoe Public Relations was hired to manage PR for the world’s leading coconut water brand Vita Coco. Vita Coco’s ultimate goal for the partnership was to see a larger volume of quality media coverage for the brand. Vita Coco launched in 2004, and throughout the early years of the coconut water craze, you could find the brand in the latest national consumer, business and broadcast news stories. That momentum had since dwindled, so Dittoe PR was tasked with surpassing the media hits the brand received in 2019 and bringing awareness to its relevance in the beverage aisle.

In addition to consumer media, Vita Coco wanted more national business hits for its CEO and Co-Founder Michael Kirban. Kirban is known in the beverage world for bringing coconut water to the U.S. and competing with giants like Coke and Pepsi while remaining an independent brand. Just like the Vita Coco product, Kirban had seen a decline in media coverage of his entrepreneurial journey and business expertise in recent years.

Our Solution

Dittoe PR’s strategy for increasing coverage for the Vita Coco brand and reaching top-tier national media included:

  • Offering social impact stories to editors so they could share feel-good news with readers in the middle of a year with so much loss and devastation, including a campaign to give back to struggling NYC bodegas, a $1 million donation to No Kid Hungry and Feeding America, and the Vita Coco Project, in which Vita Coco gives back to farmers where its coconuts are sourced;
  • Homing in on human interest stories behind Vita Coco celebrity and brand collaborations to avoid media policies against promoting brand partnerships;
  • Collecting cocktail and mocktail recipes with coconut water as an ingredient along with images from Vita Coco to pitch to national consumer media to share during timely seasons, such as refreshing summer cocktails or festive holiday beverages;
  • Pitching national consumer health and wellness editors the opportunity to speak with a nutritionist or registered dietitian in Vita Coco’s network about the benefits of the latest health trend;
  • Strategically pitching various Vita Coco products and flavors depending on seasonality, i.e. we pitched Vita Coco Infused with Hemp CBD beverage for 4/20 roundups and Vita Coco Sparkling throughout the summer;
  • Leveraging a newsjacking opportunity at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when coconut water was one of the many pantry staples that consumers had stockpiled, resulting in a spike in sales that national business media wanted to cover;
  • Revisiting Kirban’s story of introducing coconut water to the nation, utilizing recent data about company growth and innovation, and targeting top-tier media who had not yet covered the story;
  • Offering exclusives for certain news items to pique media interest in a story so they could be the first to cover, and placing embargoes on major campaign announcements in order for Dittoe PR to have ample time to pitch hundreds of journalists before the news was published on a select day.

The biggest barrier of the PR efforts for Vita Coco in 2020 was the news cycle disrupting its campaigns due to more important, hard news in the world. Both the pandemic and racial injustice overtook the news when Vita Coco had planned to launch campaigns. Instead of persistently pitching media, we paused all outreach until it was appropriate to proceed. We recommended that Vita Coco push back each campaigns’ end dates, giving us time to execute them successfully.

Results

In total, Dittoe PR earned:

  • 354 stories, a 216% increase from total stories in 2019
  • 9 billion media impressions, a 137% increase from 2019
  • $65 million in ad value, a 4,902% increase from 2019

Dittoe PR exceeded expectations by securing a variety of national stories that met all of Vita Coco’s target audiences, ranging from national business to national consumer to ad trade. PR highlights included:

  • Secured an interview between NPR’s Guy Raz and Michael Kirban for the How I Built This podcast, one of the several national business stories we secured that met our goal of revisiting Kirban’s story of launching coconut water in the U.S.; this was a concrete goal Vita Coco had for Dittoe PR as no other PR team had been able to get him coverage on How I Built This;
  • Landed cover print issues for Kirban and Vita Coco in both Wall Street Journal and Newsweek from our outreach about Kirban’s social impact initiatives;
  • Got Kirban on FOX Business Broadcast Morning Show with Varney & Co to discuss the spike in sales for coconut water;
  • Secured national campaign coverage in TODAY.com, PEOPLE, Thrillist, Vox, Us Weekly, E!, Ad Age, Muse by Clio, Ebony and more;
  • Generated product placement in POPSUGAR, Essence, Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, Eat This, Not That! and more;
  • Achieved an exclusive print and online Inc. feature that is set to run in Spring 2021; to date, the Inc. senior editor and Kirban have had 3 interviews about Vita Coco and the evolution of the company.

Dittoe PR had an intentional goal to make coconut water and Vita Coco prominent in the news again and secured an average of nearly 30 quality stories per month. Vita Coco’s sales grew 12% in 2020, and while part of that uptick is due to consumer stockpiling amid the pandemic, Vita Coco credits the media coverage we secured for keeping coconut water top of mind for consumers.

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