This past July, Kendall Galante and 14 other tweens attended the first BellyWashers Kids' Board Summer Summit, held at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla.
At the meeting, the board talked with In Zone Brands' two founders: Jim Scott, chief executive officer, and Richard Williams, chief operating officer.
It also took a closer look at BellyWashers, a line of 100% vitamin C beverages packaged in refillable bottles topped with licensed characters, including Looney Tunes, the Powerpuff Girls, Scooby-Doo, Batman and Superman.
Board members -- tweens from 10 different states and ranging from 8 to 12 years old -- were chosen by In Zone in a national search/application process conducted last spring.
Members were selected based on applications filled out by the tweens themselves, along with parents and teachers, and also a phone interview. In Zone found that the board members were not only bright and enthusiastic, but also extremely brand savvy, said Christina Sharkey, marketing manager, In Zone.
"It was a surprise to me, personally, that they have such a strong sense of what a brand is," she said. "They're exposed to brands every day and they know it. "
The board will serve as a mini-business unit within the BellyWashers marketing team, helping the company develop a signature line of BellyWashers beverages. It already has made recommendations on Web site elements, new characters and product-development concepts.
At its July board meeting, the board saw the prototype of the new line of "The Simpsons" BellyWashers featuring the "Ay Carumba Cooler" juice drink, which hit stores last month.
Over the next several months, the Kids' Board will spearhead the refresh of "The Simpsons" BellyWashers, working as a team to help In Zone develop a new edition for next summer. (Every BellyWashers bottle design is retired and refreshed after one year on store shelves). The board will communicate with the company for the rest of their term through a password-protected Web site.
Kids' Board members will also be the focus of BellyWashers' viral marketing strategy. Each member will serve as an "ambassador" for BellyWashers in their hometown, spreading the BellyWashers "spirit of fun and creativity" through community service events, such as hospital visits.