A History of Snapple
Snapple started off as an apple soda (hence the "apple" in Snapple) cooked up in 1972 by Leonard Marsh, Hyman Golden, and Arnold Greenberg who had a hobby business (the "Unadulterated Food Corporation" later named the Snapple Beverage Corporation) selling fruit drinks to health food stores in and around New York's Greenwich Village. Previous to Unadulterated Food Corporation, Leonard Marsh and Hyman Golden owned a window washing business.
Unadulterated Food Corporation held to a philosophy of offering a beverage made from high quality ingredient but charging only a little more than a can of soda. The company also refused to package their drink in a plastic or cans, believing glass (again a costlier component) held the flavor better.
In 1987 the trio introduced the iced tea version. They introduced quirky names for their beverages like "Mango Madness". They got loud-mouthed DJ Howard Stern to promote their product. Unadulterated Food Corporation's entire ad budget went to Stern.
The iced tea, the funky names, the "all natural" appellation, and Stern's big fat yapper helped turn Snapple into wildly popular regional beverage.
Food Corporation expanded distribution to
Within only a couple years, sales of the iced tea were $24 million and quadrupling every year. The original owners sold the company to a Boston-based investment firm. The firm took Snapple public. Quaker Oats acquired the brand in 1994. Upon acquisition Quaker Oats somewhat rudely dropped Stern as Snapple's long time pitchman (Stern's whole "lesbians-granting-a-dying-cancer-patient's-last-wish-by-doing-each-other-in-front-of-him-with-strap-ons" shtick did not mesh well with Quaker Oats' wholesome image). On air, Stern got a lot of mileage out of Quaker Oats slight. Lots of Stern fans stopped drinking Snapple. If dropping Stern wasn't bad enough, Quaker Oats also dropped the well-liked Wendy the Snapple Lady, further alienating consumers who identified with the straight talking thoroughly average-looking beverage queen.
Sales dropped and Quaker Oats sold the brand to Triarc in 1997. Triarc rehired both Stern and Wendy the Snapple Lady. Triarc sold it to Cadbury (makers of Schweppes) in 2000.
Wendy the Snapple Lady
Through much of the product's life, it has suffered a mutating urban legend. In 1992, legend had it Snapple was owned by the KKK (a notion the three Jewish founders could only guffaw at). The legend was possibly started as a back lash when the Snapple Beverage Corporation hired Rush Limbaugh as a spokesman. Recently, the legend has mutated to ownership by Osama bin Laden's octopus like terror network. This rumor was based on one small true fact. Snapple for a time was being distributed in Saudi Arabia by a company owned in part by the Saudi Binladin Group (which itself is not owned by Osama himself).
-- Karl Mamer