The Untold Truth About Snapple - Pureed (2023)

VonCarrie Madormo, RN, MPH/Updated May 24, 2022 1:33 p.m. EST

Snapple has always seemed like a happy, quirky company looking to spread their love of juice to the world. From their "Real Facts" to responding to every email, Snapple has made a name for itself as a fun company. But there was also a lot going on behind the scenes. Believe it or not, Snapple has had a lot of challenges — and some of them might really surprise you.

The Real Facts idea came up in an ordinary marketing meeting

One day, during a regular get-together, Snapple's marketing team was trying to find a way to "dazzle and amuse" its beloved Snapple drinkers. They finally decided to surprise customers with fun facts about the "unused real estate" under the bottle caps.

The Snapple team now has over 1,100 'Real Facts' circulating on bottle caps and strives to add around 75 to 100 new facts each year. In the beginning, all the facts came from the marketing team and the agency. Now all employees and even consumers can submit facts - but they must be interesting and backed by at least two quality sources.

Many of the facts have had to be phased out, but some originals are still in production. The first real fact was: "The attention span of a goldfish is 3 seconds."

Many of the real facts are not real

Snapple has been providing their Real Facts since 2002, and it seems they've made some mistakes since then. WhenThe AtlanticFact checking Snapple, it didn't take long for her team to uncover how many were wrong or just plain wrong.

Many of the facts were easily disproved with a phone call or a Google search. For example, Real Fact number 70, "Caller ID is illegal in California," was found to be incorrect with just one check of the California public utility website. Some other facts seem impossible to verify, like the one that claims the most popular name for a pet goldfish is Jaws.

"These are real facts, and we have fact-checking teams here," said David Falk, Snapple's vice president of marketingThe Atlantic. "We're going through a pretty vigorous process."

The company was founded by best friends

Snapple was founded in 1972 bythree best friends. Leonard Marsh, his brother-in-law Hyman Golden, and childhood friend Arnold Greenberg wanted to sell juice to health food stores.

Marsh worked as a window washer before making the leap to becoming a business owner, and he and Hyman actually started a window washer business and kept it goingafterLaunch of their new juice business. Even Greenberg kept his health food stores running to ensure they still had options even if their new business wasn't successful. That's a good thing, because apparently the founders didn't know all that much about the new market they were hoping to break into.

In 1989, Marsh even narratedCrain's New York business(aboutDie New York Times) that he "knew as much about sap as he did about making an atomic bomb."

They weren't always called Snapple

Snapple has such a funny sound. The name is memorable, but that's not how it started. Want to hear an absolutely unforgettable brand name?unadulterated foods. You see, you already forgot, didn't you? That was the original company name back in 1972. What difference can one change make, right?

The Snapple lady worked in the orders department

Do you remember the Snapple lady? She was light and fun with an amazing New York accent. she was oneactual employeeat Snapple and started reading this fan mail for fun at work.

Wendy Kaufman began working in the Snapple orders department in 1991 and later switched to working at promotional events. When one of Snapple's ad agency executives met Kaufman, he could tell she had something special, but others weren't so sure. "It was definitely controversial," Kaufman saidtoldUS Weekly. “There were fights in the main office. 'How are you going to take that fat girl from the commissions department and put her on national television?!'” But that's exactly what Snapple's executives did.

Snapple was still growing and didn't have a big budget. Showing Kaufman reading genuine fan mail was a fun and whimsical way to set himself apart. It also meant they didn't have to shell out for a celebrity spokesperson. Between 1993 and 1996, Kaufman starred in 36 commercials, some of which were award-winning.

The Snapple lady replied to every letter

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Kaufman didn't start reading fan mail to get into the commercials. She was already replying to every letter out of sheer goodness of heart. It also had something to do with a childhood infatuation.

“I fell in love with The Brady Bunch when I was a little kid. That was the show that rang for me. I fell in love with Greg Brady - actor Barry Williams - and I wrote my only fan letter to Barry Williams. He never texted me back. That taught me my first lesson in how to text someone you care about and not reply to them," Kaufman saidtoldChicago reader. “Then I noticed letters coming in – people taking the time to write to us. They wanted a connection...I knew I would connect and respond to every single person who wanted to be friends with us. I'm not doing it to be in commercials because I didn't know there were going to be commercials."

The company started with a bang

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Because a company with the name "Unadulterated Food Products" should not make it big, the founders happily came up with the name Snapple after an exciting day at work. While brainstorming new juice flavors, the founders developed acarbonated apple juiceand decided to combine the words "snappy" and "apple" to describe it.

However, the Snapple Juice never made it to market. There was too much fizz and the bottle caps actually shot off the bottles when the juice was first bottled. Although this flavor never made it, the founders liked the name so much that they reserved it for the entire company.

Iced tea turned everything around

By the late 1980s, the small company focused on juice drinks. Things really took off when Snapple released its first iced tea beverage in 1987. The company if by$3 million in sales in 1986 to $700 million in 1994.

"We made the first ready-to-drink iced tea that didn't taste like battery acid," Greenberg saidChicago reader. "It took three years to develop." Iced tea helped make Snapple a cool, quirky juice company that appealed to young people.

Howard Stern was the first speaker

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Getty Images

As Snapple grew, they hired an advertising agency to help spread the word. Surprisingly, the agency's first recommendation was to partner with radio host Howard Stern. GrunbergtoldChicago readerthat he didn't even know who Stern was at the time. As only Howard Stern could, he brought Snapple into the conversation by poking fun at it and even calling the company a "crapple."

"He's just been good for us, very helpful in the development of Snapple," Greenberg shared. "We took a lot of heat for him at times, from women's groups, gay groups, black groups, Jewish groups ... but they all listened."

However, Snapple pulled his ads from Stern's show after Stern made someoffensive remarksafter the death of singer Selena.

Rush Limbaugh advertised for free

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Getty Images

While Snapple paid Howard Stern to make fun of them, Rush Limbaugh recommended the teas and juices to his audience for free. He raved about them for six months before his producer recommended a partnership. Again, Greenberg didn't know who this radio host was, but he did put himself in touch.

Limbaugh has stated that he feels he helped Snapple grow to the greatness it was. "In all these stories about what happened with Snapple, you can't find any indication that they used to promote this program nationally," Limbaugh saidduring his show. "And when that stopped, so did the national sales. And you all know it.”

A partner got out too soon

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Unfortunately, Snapple's original founders didn't get to enjoy their shared success. In 1972 the three friends entered into a partnershipnight longer, owner of L&A Juice, to start her company. Early on, Langer was concerned that the other three would miss out on wins. He decided to leave the company in 1984 and accepted a six-figure severance payment for his 40% stake in the company. By 1994, that same 40% was worth $680 million.

It seemed when Langer walked away, it started. "Suddenly," Greenberg saidChicago reader, "We had a business."

The Snapple Lady has overcome a drug addiction

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The Snapple lady reminds me of a tough but loving mother. I pictured her walking the hallways of Snapple, greeting everyone and putting a smile on everyone she went. I certainly never pictured her as a drug addict, but that was her life before Snapple. In conversation withOprah, Kaufman admitted she was addicted to cocaine before landing the Snapple gig. "I tried coke and I loved it. I started using cocaine in 1980, right after I graduated college. In 1989 I could squeeze my cheek and blood came out of my nose. I was so sick it really got me on my knees," Kaufman saidOprah(aboutUs weekly). "I said to God, on my knees, crying hysterically, 'Either kill me or please, please help me get better. I can't live like this one second longer.'"

Luckily, Snapple entered Kaufman's life and she decided to make a change. "What most people don't know about me is that Snapple was much more than just a job," she explained. "It was a lifeline and a way for me to stay sober. And it was a vehicle for doing wonderful, nice things for other people.” Kaufman told Oprah she found a new purpose in her Snapple Lady persona and never went back to drugs.

Nobody knows why the Snapple lady got fired

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Unfortunately, the Snapple queen couldn't last forever. After 1994 things started to go south for Snapple. Sales dropped, and when Quaker bought the company, Wendy Kaufman was fired. There was never a clear answer as to why, but some people inside and outside the company had suspicions.

Rumors that she was "too New Yorkish" surfaced. It seemed like Quaker wanted to mainstream Snapple, and Kaufman didn't fit their new vision.

During this time, Quaker claimed that the commercials just weren't doing well. "We spent more than $40 million on Wendy-related media in 1995, and during that time [volume] went down 12 percent. The market was clearly ready for something different," one executivetoldad age.

Corn syrup isn't the best stuff in the world

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Snapple has built a brand of healthy, natural juices. Their slogan "Made from the best stuff on earth" supports this image. However, the ingredients were anything but natural.

The company was pressured by the Food and Drug Administration to use itCorn syrupin its drinks when it claims to be all-natural. There were other issues as well, like the fact that their acai blackberry juice didn't contain any acai or blackberry juices.

In 2009, the company made the switch from high fructosecorn syrup to sugarin his iced tea. This change actually lowered the calories per serving from 200 to 160.

There were rumors of a KKK connection

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In 1992 it was rumored that Snapple was supporting the KKK. It was completely unfounded, but eventually began to affect sales. As sales began to plummet, the company ran ads to address this rumor head-on. When asked about the rumour, onesaid Snapple spokesman, "Why would three Brooklyn Jewish boys support the KKK? This is crazy."

Proponents of the rumor argued that the "K" on the bottle's label represented the KKK. In reality, "K" stood forkosher. They also argued that the label's ship image should depict a slave ship. The ship was actually a drawing of the Boston Tea Party.

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