NutriSoda Tags OB Sidewalks – Corporate Guerilla Marketing Hits Our Beach

by on May 24, 2009 · 26 comments

in Environment, Health, Ocean Beach

Nutrisoda graffiti found on sidewalk in front of BBQ House on Newport Avenue.

Nutrisoda is one of the various minor players in the soda pop business, but it happens to be owned by one of the biggies: PepsiAmericas, Inc. Since its introduction back in 2003, the soft drink has undergone a great deal of difficulty in attaining market share. Which in plain English, means it’s pretty much flopped.

It’s been reformulated twice, repositioned as a “natural lo-cal beverage”, cut its flavors from eight to four, repackaged, and been in and out of distribution in a variety of locales. Now it’s been pared down to two markets: San Diego and Minneapolis. (They are also selling it on And, in what can only be called a last ditch attempt to save the brand, the sidewalks around Ocean Beach have been spray painted with various cutesy advertising slogans for the product.

Ocean Beach Main Street Executive Director Denny Knox has written the company asking them to stop trashing sidewalks in the community.

We have just discovered that “Nutrisoda” has been stenciled all over our business district on our sidewalks in paint that doesn’t seem to come off. Please cease and desist immediately. You are defacing our community and advertising on our sidewalks for your commercial purposes. This is not acceptable under any terms. Please have this removed immediately.

Nutrisoda, according to their website, is only carried in Ocean Beach at Chris’ Liquor store over at Sunset Cliffs and W. Point Loma Ave. A call to the toll free number listed on their website by the OBRag was answered by a recording.

UPDATE: Here’s a form letter that OB Main Street just got in the mail… and OBMA’s response…right on!

We’re very sorry for the inconvenience. Please rest assured that the sidewalk stencils done by our street teams are 100% biodegradable chalk stencils that are certainly eco-friendly.

We would be happy to wash the stencils off in the area you noted you would like to provide your address.

Please let us know.

Lastly, we would like to send you some free Nutrisoda for your troubles. Nutrisoda is a 0 sugar, 0 aspartame, 0 sodium, 0-5 calorie soda that contains 11 vitamins and nutrients in every can. If this is something that interests you, please let us know and we’ll get that out to you as soon as possible.

Our sincere apologies, TEAM NUTRISODA

OBMA’s response:

Dear Team Nutrisoda,

Thank you for your thoughtful form letter.  We noticed that no name was provided as a contact for your company.  As our merchants had to take time out of their day to scrub your advertising message off of our sidewalks with solvent, I hardly believe they would be interested in drinking your soda.

We respectfully decline your offer.  We are also asking that you not canvas our area this holiday weekend as we suspect you are planning on doing.  Our merchants work long and hard to sell their goods here in Ocean Beach, and the last thing we need is a pile of trash to pick up after you’ve gone.

These kinds of marketing tactics are not welcome in our neighborhood.


Team OB

Originally posted May 22, 2009.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar mr fresh May 22, 2009 at 3:53 pm

let’s be sure to give these nutrisoda people a real nice welcome this weekend IF they show up in OB. let’s welcome them to find interstate 8 & keep going.


avatar Dave Gilbert May 22, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Just the name NutriSoda sounds like a contradiction in terms.

I’d love to help them out, which way did they come in? XD


avatar DrumnWebGuy May 23, 2009 at 2:59 am

I say some OB justice is in order. Boycott Nutrishitoda.


avatar DrumnWebGuy May 23, 2009 at 3:02 am

And put Chris’ liquor on notice too.


avatar Dave Gilbert May 23, 2009 at 5:20 am

Chris’s Liquor didn’t do anything wrong. They’re good people!


avatar Local Resident May 23, 2009 at 7:51 am

Hey Loser Hippies! Put your doobies back in your mouth and shut the hell up! Focus on getting a job and becoming a contributing member of the community!! Also, Chris’s Liquor deserves none of your bullshit! They are good people.


avatar doug porter May 23, 2009 at 8:02 am

the point of mentioning chris’ liquor was not to make them out to be bad guys… it was to point out that hardly anybody in OB carries the stuff. now, if NutriSoda is indeed planning a marketing blitz, perhaps they made some “placements” in OB stores this week. so if you happen to see this product at your local store, let the cashier know that Nutrisoda isn’t really a good idea…. nicely, of course.


avatar lane tobias May 23, 2009 at 10:38 am

OBMA, way to go! Chris’ Liquor is a great store and clearly has nothing to do with this…if they really are the only store in OB that carries this product, i think that speaks for itself.

as for the above comment by Local Resident, the whole point of articles like this is to ensure that CONTRIBUTING MEMBERS of OUR COMMUNITY are aware of commercial interests invading and defacing OB. There is nothing in this article that implies unemployment, marijuana usage, or or giving Chris’ Liquor bullshit. You sound like you need to take a break from life and light up a doobie yourself.


avatar OB Joe May 23, 2009 at 11:34 am

and thanks dougie-poo for staying on top of this and letting us read the updates. good job.


avatar Gary Gilmore May 24, 2009 at 3:30 pm

What the Hell was going through NutriSoda’s head? I mean, their advertizing agency had to have a meeting sometime in the recent past where it was decided that they would pay people to use THEIR STENCILS that they PAID TO HAVE MADE and go paint their logo on sidewalks around the area. What the hell were they thinking? That we would go “OH Boy! Look! NutriSoda has stenciled up our sidewalks with their logo! Let’s go buy some! I don’t give a flying hoot if they used 100% biodegradable chalk. That’s no conciliation at all. In one fell swoop they have made their product kryptonite. A brilliant example as to how NOT to market a product.


avatar doug porter May 25, 2009 at 7:44 am

hey check this out… if you look up guerrilla marketing in wikipedia, the nutrisoda campaign is now list as an example of what not to do. we’ve made history obceans, at least until the editors at wikipedia change their minds….


avatar Frank Gormlie May 25, 2009 at 9:12 am

Doug – couldn’t find anything on g.m. on wikipedia; maybe I’m too hung over or something….


avatar doug porter May 25, 2009 at 9:13 am

and….we’ve already been deleted….that wikipedia is a fickle creature….


avatar mr fresh May 25, 2009 at 4:28 pm

here’s what the wikipedia page said….
In May 2009, Nutrisoda, a subsidiary of PepsiAmericas, in an example of the Guerrilla graffiti technique, spray painted the products logo and marketing messages on the sidewalks of Ocean Beach, California without prior notification or permission. While Nutrisoda claims that the paint was “eco-friendly” the townspeople found it difficult to remove and disapproved. As one blogger put it “What the hell were they thinking? That we would go “OH Boy! Look! NutriSoda has stenciled up our sidewalks with their logo! Let’s go buy some! I don’t give a flying hoot if they used 100% biodegradable chalk. That’s no conciliation at all. In one fell swoop they have made their product kryptonite.” First noted via a Twitter comment to over 8,000 followers the day it occured, this reference is notable as it demonstrates how easily a Guerilla Marketing blunder by a major corporation can quickly be disseminated via social media. NutriSoda Tags OB Sidewalks


avatar Mike May 25, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Who cares if Nutrisoda is owned by Pepsi America? If you did research on most of the products you eat and drink, you’ll find that they’re owned by big-biz in some way or another. I think it’s great to see a soda out there with the health conscience in mind. As we all live in California, we’re no stranger to advertising and a couple sidewalk chalk stencils isn’t hurting me. I’m thinking that the author is looking for something to complain about. On a side note – Why bash Chris’s Liquor? We should support our local business.

Mike Lafavor.


avatar Gary Gilmore May 26, 2009 at 7:51 am

While it’s rumored that Chris’s Liquor is carrying NutriSoda no one is bashing Chris’s Liquor. They’re a good community minded business; they hire locals and put out a darn good sandwich. If there is any perception that Chris’s Liquor is being bashed it’s a misinterpretation. To recap: Chris’s Liquor = GOOD
NutriSoda = BAD
There you go.


avatar jon May 26, 2009 at 9:15 am

There isn’t much I can say that hasn’t already been said. I would just like to reiterate that Chris’s liquor and Deli and the Olive Tree marketplace are two of our finest businesses in OB. Hiring mostly locals who are always friendly and helpful. I think Drumwebguy’s comment was taken way out of context.

Also, a little chalk on the street doesn’t seem that bad until McDonalds and Mountain Dew and Viagra all get the same idea and figure that we as citizens don’t care. Then we would have a serious mess on our hands.

Good work OBMA and OB Rag.


avatar Mike Lafavor May 26, 2009 at 11:58 am

I ran out and bought a can of Nutrisoda after the hubbub (I guess their marketing tactics worked). While I’d rather drink a glass of water, the product isn’t half bad. Jon, I agree with you, but maybe people are jumping the gun to call a product and company “bad” before trying it.

Just a thought – I try to be fair.



avatar Terry Gulch May 26, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Listen, you people need to get a life. I work in the business and Nutrisoda is a good company. All they are trying to do is build a brand. From your article, it looks like they apologized and took care of removing the stencils! They are like any other company trying to get the word out about their product. Instead of acting like a bunch of cry babies, why don’t you give them some credit for acting quickly at the request of OB Main Street Association. If they would have done nothing and sent a f-off type of response, then I could understand why you are bashing them. But they acted responsibly, There are a lot of people you should be going after in Ocean Beach more worthy of your attacks than Nutrisoda. How about writing about cleaning up the drug use, alcohol abuse and violence in OB instead of bashing a legitimate business?? They made a mistake and did something about it professionally and without issue. As long as Nutrisoda builds their brand responsibly, let them do their thing in peace in Ocean Beach!!


avatar mr fresh May 26, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Attn: Terry Gulch. Nutrisoda did NOTHING about cleaning up the sidewalks. The small business people in OB used their own brooms and scrub brushes to get this stuff up. All Nutrisoda did was to offer up some free samples after the fact. Hope you already cashed that check from their PR people.


avatar jon May 26, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Sure Terry, I think they can and deserve to be given credit for a speedy response. But they still needed to be called out for shoddy marketing practices. I, for one, do not like graffiti in my front yard. OB is a proud community, and we do not appreciate tagging or graffiti of any sort. I think this issue can go away now. Nutrisoda has made their apologies and cleaned up their mess. Fine. I personally won’t be boycotting any stores that choose to carry their product, as it seems counter-productive at this point.

I’m off to get a life. Catch up with y’all later.



avatar doug porter May 26, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Actually, mr fresh, Nutrisoda DID offer to clean the sidewalks. AFTER they’d already been cleaned. But you are right about one thing–their pr people have been burning up the web visiting our pages… 14 visits today from minneapolis (not exactly a hotbed of OB Rag fans) & st paul. And can anybody tell us why the Conagra company is interested in this story?


avatar jon May 26, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Conagra is a huge distributor of pre-packaged food-stuffs. (That’s a generalized statement. They might describe themselves differently.) My guess is they have something to do with packaging and/or distribution of Nutri-soda. Interesting how rapidly word travels on the trusty ol’ Information Superhighway.

Thanks for pointing out that Nutrisoda offered to clean Doug. It is important for us to be fair and focus on the cause of our frustration which is the practice of tagging the streets, not the soda pop itself.

Dammit! I was supposed to be somewhere getting a life! Seriously guys, I’m going to work now stop bothering me with your lefty rhetoric. ;)


avatar Dave Gilbert May 26, 2009 at 3:47 pm

hey Jon, when you’re out getting a life…pick me one up too & I’ll pay ya back! XD


avatar Wireless Mike May 26, 2009 at 5:06 pm

NutriSoda’s grafitti is in violation of San Diego Municipal Code Chapter 5 Article 4 Division 4: Grafitti Abatement. Enforcement is under the authority of City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. (The full text is available here:

Pepsico and its advertising agency must know that grafitti is illegal, but they chose to do it anyway. Even if they offered to clean it up later, that doesn’t change the fact that they did it in the first place. That shows a definite lack of respect for our community.

Pepsico is a $79.8 Billion dollar global corporation. For OB to boycott Nutrisoda would be like removing one grain of sand from the beach. It might make us feel good, but the corporation probably wouldn’t notice. Just a reality check.

Chris’ Liquor is a good local business and has been a part of the community for many years. Don’t punish them for what somebody else did. Support our local merchants.


avatar Suckit Jones September 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm

You are all a bunch of losers!! that is why you live in OB!


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