New ad campaign looks to recapture Florida citrus heyday
by Chip Carter | June 15, 2010
BONITA SPRINGS, FL -- Philosophers have long pondered, "If a tree falls in the
forest, and there's no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?" What
Florida citrus growers want to know is, "If an advertising campaign is created
and executed, but no one sees it, does it have an impact?"
In late 2007, the Florida Citrus Commission announced that TV star Tom
Selleck of "Magnum, P.I." fame had agreed to lend his voice to the industry's
advertising campaign, with the theme, "Florida orange juice -- healthy, pure
But in 2008, the Florida citrus industry, facing declining revenues and
increasing disease pressures, began to chip away at its marketing budget to
fund research into citrus canker and huanglongbing, also known as HLB or
citrus greening disease.
By 2009, the budget for purchasing television advertising had been slashed
by half, to $1.6 million. The industry argued among itself, questioning the
need and effectiveness of promotions.
Ultimately, Mr. Selleck's golden tones failed to sway consumers. Orange juice
consumption has declined steadily, slipping another 8 percent last year. Some
in the industry think that the drop was directly related to a lack of
advertising. Others suggest that Mr. Selleck's image appealed primarily to
more mature consumers who are already orange juice converts, not to the
younger demographic the industry covets.
The point is now officially moot. The Florida Citrus Commission got a sneak
peek at a new advertising campaign that has been in the works for a year at
the 2010 Florida citrus industry annual conference, held June 9-11 at the
Hyatt Regency Coconut Point resort, here.
For the past five years, The Richards Group, an independent agency in Dallas,
had managed the Florida citrus industry's multi-million-dollar advertising
account. When the commission let it be known that the contract was up for
grabs, 15 agencies pitched campaigns before eventual winner BBDO Atlanta
"We believe that BBDO is poised to help the Florida citrus industry motivate
consumer behavior in an era of rapid change," said Ken Keck, executive
director of the Florida Department of Citrus. "We look forward to the insight
and expertise that BBDO will bring to our extended marketing team."
BBDO Atlanta rolled out its top brass for the unveiling of the new campaign.
The pitch was presented in storyboard form, like a comic book. After focus-
group testing over the summer and final approval by the commission, the
plan is to film nine new television commercials in August that will begin
airing in late September.
The new campaign avoids celebrities -- and the high price tag they carry (Mr.
Selleck received $90,000 annually for his efforts) -- and focuses on a new
generation of consumers.
The new target demographic comprises 45 percent of the population and
focuses on younger consumers, the area of most growth opportunity for the
The pitch positions the health and wellness benefits of Florida citrus with an
"emotional connection" that does not alienate the industry's core
demographic of consumers age 35 and up, BBDO Atlanta Chief Creative
Officer Bobby Pearce told the commission.
BBDO's market research showed that "people claim to drink more orange juice
than they actually do -- a lot more," said Jeff Upshaw, BBDO Atlanta's
executive vice president and chief strategy officer. "So their heads are already
in the game."
The spots feature individuals and families in everyday settings like kitchens,
classrooms and offices. The campaign message: The natural energy of orange
juice gives you a fresh start every morning.
Some of the spots feature individuals who are not quite up to speed at the
beginning of the day. Conversation around them sounds "like Charlie Brown's
parents," Mr. Pearce said. But once they have that first swig of Florida orange
juice, the world comes into focus and the day can officially begin.
Other spots feature show-business settings, where individuals are shown
backstage preparing for a performance only to emerge into the real world
after a glass of orange juice helps them get ready for the day. "All the world's
a stage, and we all have to perform," said Mr. Pearce.
Michael Carrere, a member of the commission's board of directors and
executive vice president of Lykes Bros. Inc. in Tampa, FL, worried that the
campaign positioned orange juice against coffee as a morning engine-starter.
"They're complementary," said Mr. Upshaw, adding that extensive research
helped BBDO "adjust the dials" on targeted demographic segments and "make
sure we're relevant to them."
Mr. Carrere also expressed concern that the emotional connection was vague.
"I didn't get it," he said.
Board member Mike Haycock, vice president of operations for Tropicana
Products in Bradenton, FL, echoed those concerns. "I had the same reaction -
- not enough emotional pull," he said.
Mr. Pearce explained that key emotional components of the campaign involve
"strategic positioning," and that initial research shows that consumers will
respond to the new spots once they move beyond the storyboard format.