Marvel characters, sugar-free formulas aimed at kids and moms

Like all Slammer products, Super Hero Slammers are shelf stable which makes them ideal for multi-channel, national distribution.
Bravo! Foods has repositioned its Slammers flavored milks into four lines, appealing to different demographics with added vitamin and nutrients, no-sugar-added formulas, new colors and new co-brand characters.

Gone are Bugs Bunny and Tweety, as Spiderman and Wolverine spring into action.

Last month Bravo began shipping its Marvel's-branded, Super Heroes® Slammers product in conjunction with a national roll-out to approximately 5,300 participating 7-Eleven stores in the United States. 7-Eleven will offer Bravo's vitamin-fortified milk in vanilla, chocolate and cookies-and-cream flavors in a 16-ounce, "super ESL" bottle.

"We've assembled a very comprehensive, strategically placed national network of 12 distributors to facilitate the 7-Eleven order," said Roy Warren, Bravo's CEO. "This network enables Bravo to efficiently service 7-Eleven stores nationwide and places our flavored milk beverages at highly trafficked venues sought out for single-serve products. Additionally, many of these distributors will provide access to other Bravo customers, large and small, allowing much wider distribution of all Slammers brands."

In addition to the Super Hero Slammers, targeted to "tweens" and teens, Bravo offers three other lines. Slim Slammers have been repositioned as a no-sugar-added diet drink for women. Sport Slammers, which offer 50% more protein, are hitched to extreme sports figures and pitched to athletes in their teens and 20s. Moon Pie Slammers, also marketed to children and teens and adults with a formula that reflects the heritage of the Moon Pie baked snack line.

For the Super Hero line, Bravo reached a license agreement with Marvel Enterprises.

In addition to displaying the characters on its packaging, Bravo has also supplemented its already vitamin-fortified, low-fat milk with additional vitamin supplements associated with the characters' special powers.

Bravo's Chocolate Web milk container displays Marvel's Spider-Man™ and includes omega 3, vitamin E and choline as a boost to brainpower. Fierce Caramel, promotes Marvel's Wolverine™ of the X-Men, and includes added antioxidants, vitamins A and B, and green tea extract to boost the immune system, reflecting the character's super healing powers. A blue vanilla flavored milk sports Captain America™ and the Incredible Hulk adorns Cookies and Green.

The Super Hero line is sweetened with a combination of sugar and Sucralose, giving it a lower overall sugar and carbohydrate profile than most flavored milk. Slim Slammers are made with 1% milk and have the same sugar and fat content as plain 1% milk.

The shelf-stable products are offered in resealable on-the-go plastic bottles and 11.2 oz. Prisma Packs with 180 day shelf life. The company says eight films featuring Marvel characters will be released in the next 24 months, including this summer's Spider Man 2. Full page ads promoting the milk products will be run in Marvel comics, which is said to have a readership of 15.5 million. Bravo also plans to fortify its marketing efforts by utilizing Milk PEP's Healthy Weight with Dairy campaign.

Bravo has rethought its products and strategy more than once in the last three years. Products were previously co-branded with Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes characters, and at one point, licensed to individual dairy companies. Warren said he is confident that Bravo has found a winning business formula.

"We're obviously delighted that 7-Eleven stores, with thousands of kids and young adults visiting every day, will showcase our healthy milk drinks," he said. "Vitamin-fortified Slammers are made with 100% milk and offer a great alternative to sugar-laden soft drinks that are coming under more and more scrutiny for their long-term impact on children's health. The added appeal of Marvel's superheroes will further our marketing efforts to reach health conscious consumers."