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How the viral Ocean Spray TikTok video transformed a 90-year-old company overnight

Brian Sozzi
·Editor-at-Large
·3 mins read

Timing is everything in business. And Tom Hayes, we’re here to say your timing in taking over as the CEO of 90-year-old Ocean Spray in July couldn’t have been better.

Ocean Spray continues to ride the wave of a new viral TikTok video (see below) put out by Idaho potato worker Nathan Apodaca. In the video — which has been viewed on TikTok more than 46 million times and shared endlessly on other social platforms — Apodaca is seen riding a skateboard along a highway set to the backdrop of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” His drink of choice: Ocean Spray cranberry juice.

Hayes, the former CEO of Tyson Foods credited with taking an early stake in Beyond Meat, says the company is getting ready for a healthy bounce in sales from the video and as people continue to stay home during the pandemic.

“We have about 15 billion media impressions now. We can’t say that we have seen an immediate impact as the shipments are going into retailers. Retailers say there is an additional draw off the shelf, particularly with cran-raspberry. We have been impacted with strong sales with consumers coming back to products that they love in comforting times. We have seen overall great sales, and I expect to see cran-rasberry sales to pick up next quarter. We are looking forward to that,” Hayes told Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

Some three months in as Ocean Spray’s CEO, Hayes is wasting no time getting his growth plan into action. He plans to channel his knack for spotting food trends early and introduced innovative new products that extend the Ocean Spray brand. Think new beverages, snacks and mini meals.

No better time to pounce with new throngs of people getting interested in Ocean Spray from the TikTok video.

“We have the beauty of having the wonderful heritage of Ocean Spray. We are focused on cranberries and we have a very progressive, multi-generation grower and owner base that wants to make sure that we continue to keep the company relevant,” Hayes explained. “To do that, we have to make sure that the brand is continuing to be in the forefront. This TikTok video is great and it helped that.”

And perhaps he may even cut another TikTok video on a skateboard, too.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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