Making the Most of a Brush With Fame

November 2006

In our list of 50 green entrepreneurial companies ("The Eco-Advantage," November 2006), we asked if the world was really ready for a recycled toothbrush. Turns out, it just might be. Since we wrote about Recycline, which makes the Preserve line of toothbrushes, tongue cleaners, and razors--all from recycled materials like yogurt cups--the company has seen its sales jump 45 percent over the same period last year, thanks in part to a creative cross-promotion.

When we wrote the article, CEO Eric Hudson, who makes a habit of sending product samples to movie sets, had just learned that Recycline's toothbrush (oops, not the razor--we got it wrong) would be used by Will Ferrell in the movie Stranger Than Fiction. When the film premiered, Hudson's marketing team leveraged that moment in the limelight to boost sales at select Target stores where the Preserve line was just beginning a test run. The company offered free toothbrushes and movie tickets to volunteers, who hit 20 theaters armed with post cards that read, "Meet Harold Crick's toothbrush" (Crick being the name of Ferrell's character) and directed moviegoers to the nearest Target. By the end of March, the line was selling well over Target's performance demands in many of the stores and had been picked up by Wal-Mart, which now carries the Preserve line at most of its U.S. locations.

The company is now looking for other cross-promotional opportunities, especially for its line of kitchen products, which debuts in Whole Foods this fall. "The hope," says C.A. Webb, Recycline's marketing director, "is that Rachael Ray will be using our green cutting board sometime this year." --Nitasha Tiku

Coke Pays Billions for Vitaminwater

September 2005

When we first wrote about J. Darius Bikoff, founder of Glacéau, which makes Vitaminwater and Smartwater, he told us about a few of his favorite possessions and what he covets (Things I Can't Live Without, September 2005). Now Bikoff just might be able to afford that Gulfstream.

In May, Coca-Cola announced it would acquire Bikoff's New York City-based beverage company for $4.1 billion. The all-cash deal was finalized in June. Under the terms of the agreement, Bikoff and two other top Glacéau executives will stay on at the company for a minimum of three years.

Glacéau, which had an estimated $104 million in annual sales in 2004, successfully took on Coke's biggest rival in a trade dress suit last year (see "A Tale of Two Flavored Waters," June 2006). As part of a settlement, PepsiCo agreed to change the label on its SoBe Life Water brand.

Some familiar faces are sharing in Bikoff's latest windfall. In lieu of payment for promoting his brands, Bikoff offered shares of the company to actress Jennifer Aniston, former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson, rapper 50 Cent, the Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz, and the New York Mets' David Wright. Glacéau would not comment on the size of each celebrity's ownership stake. --Ryan McCarthy