Could sugary snack and fast-food movie tie-ins be going out of style? The animated Blue Sky Studios film Ferdinand, in theaters Dec. 15, tells the story of a tender-hearted bull (voiced by John Cena) who prefers flowers to fights. But that’s not to suggest that he is overtly sweet, at least when it comes to treats. The 20th Century Fox-owned studio chose to team up with Los Angeles-based zero calorie beverage company Zevia  (known for its Stevia-based sodas in 15 flavors loved by Tom Hanks, Ben Affleck, Vanessa Hudgens,  Zooey Deschanel and Quincy Jones) to send a subliminal message to kids. 

Courtesy of Zevia

Spence worked with 20th Century Fox’s executive vp marketing Zachary Eller to create 1,250,000 limited-edition, commemorative Zevia soda cans, decorated with imagery of Ferdinand and other characters (including goats, hedgehogs and fellow bulls voiced in the film by the likes of Kate McKinnon, Gina Rodriguez and Peyton Manning), that hit 20,000 U.S. grocery stores Wednesday. The cans showcase four, non-caffeinated Zevia soda flavors: ginger root beer, grape, cream soda and black cherry; from now until the film’s release Dec. 15, each special-edition six-pack ($5.99 at stores such as Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market, Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons and Target) comes with a Fandango coupon for $5 off one Ferdinand movie ticket.

“It would be insane these days for a kids' movie to have Camel cigarettes as a partner, yet we’re still seeing partnerships with McDonalds and sugary soda companies; you want to have products that parents can feel good about giving their kids and I think that’s why Fox sought us out,” said Zevia’s chairman and CEO Paddy Spence, speaking to THR exclusively by phone. “We really believe that excess sugar consumption is one of the biggest health issues of our time. If a five-year-old kid drinks one sugary soda a day, they’re literally drinking 32 pounds of sugar every year. Our products are sweetened with Stevia, which is a plant, and have no calories and no sugar — just four simple plant-based ingredients. Ferdinand is about living a healthy life; he doesn’t want to go die in a bull fight!”