Ocean Spray partners for the Absolut win! It is not just Hershey!

Published: May 23, 2023

min read

Ocean Spray has announced new collaborations taking snacking and cocktails to go, to a whole new level! The farmer-owned co-operative has announced two collaborations - a chocolate-covered dried fruit line in partnership with Hershey’s, and a co-branded canned vodka cranberry cocktail that will come out next year from Absolut vodka and its parent, Pernod Ricard.

Ocean Spray is known for its cranberry juice and with this partnership, moves on to sizzling categories such as snacking and ready-to-drink cocktails. The new Ocean Spray-Hershey’s co-branded products include milk chocolate dipped cranberry bites and dark chocolate dipped cherry-infused cranberry bites. These are a sweeter and more indulgent alternative to dried fruit for customers who look for healthier options, but with just that bit of indulgence.

We really thought Hershey’s was the right brand to bring new consumers in the aisle with us to build innovation in partnership that was really exciting and different for the category.

Monisha Dabek,

Chief Commercial Officer at USA at Ocean Spray

The new products were able to appear on shelves in less than a year and the two brands are working on adding more products to this line-up. A big attraction for both Ocean Spray and Hershey’s was the opportunity for them to appear in new areas in club stores like Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale when they do custom rotations within dried fruit.

While these products are already in stores, both brands intend promoting these products with a campaign in summer with targeted ads, sampling programs and collaboration on social media.

Cranberry juice and vodka is already one heck of a combo and so putting them together in a single package makes perfect sense for both Ocean Spray and Absolut. This is Absolut’s first entry into Ready-To-Drink cocktails and has 4.5% alcohol by volume - the same as a light beer.

This is one of many non- alcoholic drinks getting a tipsy twist to them and jumping on to the RTD bandwagon along with Sunny D Vodka Seltzer, Hard Mtn Dew and Simply Spiked lemonade.

These will be sold in variety packs including cranberry, cran-pineapple, cran-grape and cran-raspberry. It could be 2024 before the product hits the shelves, and will add to Absolut’s more fruit-forward cocktails including its 10% ABV RTD Berry Vodkarita.

Partnering right makes all the difference!

Ocean Spray is known for its cranberry drinks. Everyone knows that. But to take things to a different level in the marketing game, the right partnerships will make a huge difference.

Hersheys is known for its chocolate and Absolut is almost synonymous with Vodka. Partnering with them may be one of the smartest moves Ocean Spray has done.

Brand partnerships are not new. But they are very popular as they stir up a lot of excitement in the customer-base of both brands that enter into a partnership. It creates a buzz attracting a lot of customer attention and when the brands are mammoths in their own fields (like Ocean Spray and Hersheys and Absolut are, undoubtedly) it creates tremendous buzz and a high level of expectation and anticipation and excitement! (All great for sales) They can also generate earned media at little cost.

Stepping into the snacking category, Ocean Spray brings dried fruit coated in chocolate. What’s not to love! It appeals to the consumer who is health-conscious with just a little touch of the indulgent.

And both these partnerships don’t appear to be partnerships just for the sake of partnerships. Vodka and cranberry juice is the most popular combination – they just go together. It just makes sense to have a product that is a pre-mixed version of the world’s best combination anyway! So are chocolate covered fruit! Matches made in heaven!

This partnering takes both brands into new spaces in the marketplace – new audiences (for both) thanks to the synergy that the partnership brings. And also new competition!

But these partnerships look like they will head straight to the top! Truly exciting and sweet times for Hershey’s, Absolut and Ocean Spray!


Pete Johnson

Pete is a MarTech expert guru with a knack for getting diverse MarTech solutions work for brands. He has a wealth of experience in working with a plethora of MarTech platforms that dive Personalized Omnichannel Experiences. When he's not at work, you can find him playing basketball or listening to jazz.


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