Tropicana Goes Back to Nature in New Global Pitch

Juice Marketer Adopts Clear Packaging, Breaks Campaign Touting That Its Oranges Are Grown in Florida

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Tropicana is looking to make a splash on the global stage.

Despite a choppy couple of years, the juice brand already dominates the domestic market, with more than $1 billion in U.S. sales. Now, it is seeking to reinforce that position by sharing innovations across markets and unleashing a global campaign emphasizing its growers with the tagline "Tap Into Nature."

"We decided to have a global group that makes sure we have a common global approach from a positioning perspective and, where we can, packaging and communications," said Memo Maquivar, VP-marketing at Tropicana. "It helps us drive synergies and helps us leverage breakthrough innovations. It's all about consistency and scale."

Battle of the brands
Battle of the brands

In the past, campaigns were handled locally, but the creation of the Global Nutrition Group in October 2010 paved the way for increased collaboration. Trop50, a fast-growing brand for the trademark, is one example of sharing innovations globally. Launched in the U.S. in 2009, the reduced-calorie juice is being sold in Canada, and European markets are considering distribution, Mr. Maquivar said. Contagious, a London agency, handles creative for the brand.

"With any company and any brand, all the good ideas are not necessarily going to happen in Purchase, N.Y., or Atlanta," said John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest. "Sharing ideas from around the world absolutely makes sense."

Mr. Maquivar said that last year was spent aligning the various markets' strategies and developing the campaign, which is running in the U.S., U.K., Canada and France. Tropicana is one of a dozen brands singled out by PepsiCo for increased investment in 2012. Juniper Park, Toronto, is Tropicana's global agency of record.

"Tap Into Nature" emphasizes Tropicana's relationships with its growers and, in the U.S., touts that its juice is made from 100% Florida oranges. It's a switch for the company, which for several years had been using a blend of Florida and imported oranges. It also differentiates Tropicana from the No. 2 player in the category, Coca-Cola's Simply, which uses imported oranges.

Mr. Maquivar said the decision to eliminate imported oranges was made in November, though it was not announced until January amid press coverage about shipments of imported oranges with fungicide, which he said was a coincidence.

"Research told us that [the source of the oranges] makes a difference to our consumers," Mr. Maquivar said. "We didn't want to confuse consumers while we switched over our supply chain. "We wanted to make sure the product on the shelves confirmed the message, and it was consistent."

In early February, the switch was complete, and Tropicana began promoting it. Labels on shelves across the country read that Tropicana is made with 100% Florida oranges, and a spot that broke during the Grammy Awards telecast emphasized that message.

The creative -- beauty shots of growers harvesting oranges in their groves -- will seem familiar to U.S. viewers who have seen a continuing campaign for Florida's Natural. In fact, Tropicana's switch to 100% Florida oranges undercuts that campaign. Florida's Natural has been aggressive in recent years in attacking competitors that use imported oranges. On its website, games encourage consumers to fill a glass with only Florida oranges, or use a gloved hand to block imported oranges.

According to SymphonyIRI, Florida's Natural posted sales of $315.7 million in outlets excluding Walmart Stores during the 52 weeks ended Jan. 22 .

In addition to the global effort, Tropicana will be heavily promoting the launch of redesigned packaging in the coming months. The brand is moving away from cartons to clear carafes, which Mr. Maquivar said has led to double-digit sales gains in certain sizes.

Simply embraced carafes well before its competitor, however, and picked up market share as a result. Even when Tropicana began switching to carafes last year, Simply gained share. According to SymphonyIRI, Tropicana's sales fell 5% and Simply sales rose 7% in the 52-week period ended Jan. 22 . (Symphony IRI puts Tropicana sales at $854 million during that time frame compared with $501.9 million for Simply. Private-label sales still weigh in with a hefty $461.2 million.)

Mr. Maquivar called the packaging changes a "great transformation." When asked why the brand had trailed Simply on introducing a package consumers had clearly responded to, Mr. Maquivar said the brand wanted to experiment with the carafe for its Trop50 brand. "We need to be very careful about packaging changes in Tropicana and make sure we don't confuse consumers," he said.

Indeed, a packaging change in early 2009 infamously went awry, resulting in lost sales and upset consumers. "[That] was a great learning," Mr. Maquivar said, noting that with the latest shift, messaging on cartons alerted consumers the carafes were coming. "We kept the Tropicana logo and orange-with-a-straw equities and the orange color on caps to help consumers navigate through the change."

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