Tomorrow will mark a momentous milestone in the life of my home state, North Carolina. Krispy Kreme of Winston-Salem will release Cheerwine-infused doughnuts in 1,000 grocery stores across the Carolinas.
Never heard of Cheerwine? It’s a cherry-flavored softdrink produced by the Carolina Beverage Corporation in Salisbury, North Carolina, and found mainly in the southeast. Due to its scarcity and unique taste, the brand has developed a cult-like following, spawning fansites, promotional novelties, and specialty Cheerwine Floats offered at locally owned restaurants.
The “Cheerwine Kreme Filled Doughnuts” have created a lot of hype among their fan community (which consists largely of college-age males), even making it into Paste Magazine’s “Awesome of the Day” column, which begins, “Two beloved North Carolina companies have conspired to raise the state’s per capita diabetes ranking.” I was infused with pride when I read those words—Cheerwine-flavored pride.
I don’t have to tell you that in the softdrink industry, two giants dominate. They have gained international success by spreading their brand over every inch of the earth. So it’s surprising to realize that Cheerwine has succeeded for the exact opposite reasons: It is local, and scarce.
The more available and widespread you make your product, the harder it is to give your brand personality. Cheerwine gives me hope: that people still care about regionalism, that they are willing to travel out of the way for a unique brand experience, that there is value to being locally rooted, and that you don’t have to have Britney Spears in your commercials to succeed.
As you can tell from the commercial above, Cheerwine embraces its unique status. I get the feeling that if they wanted a larger distribution, they could have it. But I also believe a more widespread availability would be the brand’s downfall.
So, Carolina readers, head out tomorrow on a search for Cheerwine doughnuts!
In more personal news, this will be my last blog post for Pinnacle Promotions. From now on Stephania will be serving you words of wisdom every Wednesday. It’s been a great run and I will miss you all. Over and out!