Sunday, March 4, 2007

Camera catches grin for berry soda label

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The Rosebud kindergartner doesn’t know what Fu Fu Berry Soda tastes like, but she loves the way it looks.
Six-year-old Reagan Maxfield looks at the pink drink, sees herself and then giggles. Her face is printed on the label of the Jones Soda product.
The youngster owes her soda-bottle stardom to the photographer — her 18-year-old cousin, Lynnsay Crittenden of Temple.
“The label turned out so good. I surprised myself with how good it was,” Lynnsay said. “But then again, it’s hard to take a bad picture of Reagan. She is so photogenic.” Lynnsay laughed and hugged her young cousin while pointing at a Reagan-faced Fu Fu Berry Soda bottle.
“We get hundreds and hundreds of photo submissions every month,” said Jason Kim from the photo department at Jones Soda Co., the Washington-based manufacturer of Fu Fu Berry Soda. “We pick out the ones we like the best and assign two or three photos to each soda flavor.”
Jones Soda Co. regularly produces about 20 different flavors of sugar-free soda each month. It also sells energy drinks, lip balm, popsicles and candy.
“Each label gets put on about a month’s worth of sodas,” Kim said. “When the month is over, we move on to the next set of pictures.”
All labels are archived on the Jones Soda Web site, www.jonessoda.com.
Lynnsay learned about Jones Soda through her aunt, Reagan’s mother, Stephanie Maxfield of Rosebud.
”I love their vanilla soda. I drink it all the time,” Mrs. Maxfield said. “I had read somewhere that people could submit photos for bottle labels online. So I encouraged Lynnsay to try it.”
When the photo editor saw the close-up, framed image of Reagan’s eyes and bangs, he said it fit with the consumer-oriented style of Jones Soda Co.
“There is no real criteria for the photos we choose,” Kim said. “A good picture is a good picture.”
The Jones Soda Co. sent Lynnsay a letter in April 2006, informing her that Reagan’s picture — one of the 40 photo submissions she mailed in the summer of 2005 — was selected for a Jones Soda bottle label.
“We’ve been waiting and waiting for it show up on store shelves,” said Marleea Crittenden, Lynnsay’s mom. “We even had our out-of state relatives looking for it.”
Because of the high volume of photo submissions the company receives each month, Kim said the year-long wait for a particular label isn’t uncommon.
A family friend spotted the Reagan-faced Fu Fu Berry Soda early this week at Maggie Moo’s in Temple.
“Chelsea called me and said, ‘You have got to come see this,’” Lynnsay said. Chelsea Hussey attends Central Texas Christian School with Lynnsay. “So we hurried down to Maggie Moo’s, and there it was.”
“We bought all eight bottles in the store,” Mrs. Crittenden said. “We’re going to keep a couple and send the rest to family.”
Lynnsay has had no formal training in the field of photography, but she’s no stranger to it.
“When I got my digital camera, I became obsessed with photography,” Lynnsay said. “I just started taking picture after picture. Trying all sorts of different things.”
The CTCS senior is a photographer for the high school yearbook staff.
“It’s the way I can show my creativity,” Lynnsay said, explaining the charm of her hobby. “I can’t draw or sing. So I take pictures.”
Karen Luckett, the dean of students at CTCS, is familiar with Lynnsay’s work.
“Lynnsay has a creative flare for images — a real good eye,” Ms. Luckett said. “With the immediate feedback that the digital camera provides, she’s been able to develop her artistic side.”
Lynnsay said she’s very excited with her first nationally published photo, but she doesn’t want to be a professional photographer, explaining that she loves children more than photos. She plans to study elementary education at college.
And Miss Reagan, the little soda star, says no when you ask her if she wants to be a model.
“I want to be a horse rider,” Reagan says.
But for right now she said she’s happy to be in kindergarten — no, “almost in the first grade” — finger-painting and making pictures.

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