CANADA: Leading Brands Expands Virgin Drinks Territory
Leading Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:LBIX), Canada's largest independent, fully integrated food and beverage brand management company, today announced that it has expanded its territory from Western Canada to include the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec as the master franchisee of Virgin Drinks®. This more than triples the Company's potential market for these products. Virgin Drinks® is available in cola, several distinctive flavors and, especially, colors (orange, pink, green, gold, and blue). These beverages and the unique Cur-V (R) bottle in which they are bottled, are owned by Richard Branson and the Virgin group of companies. These products have met with extraordinary success in the United Kingdom and many countries in Europe and Asia. The unique package coupled with a youth oriented marketing campaign has helped Leading Brands attract its target market of 10-16 year olds. Currently, Leading Brands is preparing for a Virgin flavour extension for release this fall, and a brand extension in December 2000. To further reach its target market of pre-teens to young teens, Leading Brands is engaged in cross marketing with Virgin Mega Stores, V-2 Records and BBC-Canada Radio Programming. These relationships directly focus the marketing effort on the youth oriented market. Leading Brands Chairman, President and CEO Ralph McRae, stated: "We are very proud of our expanding relationship with Virgin. The Virgin Group is an innovative specialist at building brand recognition. Working with Virgin Group in Canada, we have found them to be supportive partners and look forward to their continued support on this expansion and other future ventures. Our cross marketing programs with Virgin Mega Stores, V-2 Records and BBC-Canada Radio, give us a distinct advantage in effectively reaching our target market. We look forward to spreading our early success in Western Canada to the rest of the Country."
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