Using a strategic approach that confronts Americans' changing eating habits, the agency's pitch positioned juice as a nutritious addition to consumers' smaller and more frequent "mini-meals."
The plan also addressed the state industry's falling share, now amounting to less than 5.5% of non-alcoholic beverage purchases, according to the commission.
The winning tagline, "I'm tellin' ya, it's the juice," identified the energy boost the industry claims orange juice provides, agency executives said.
Ammirati also planned to capitalize on recent endorsements from the American Cancer Society and the March of Dimes.
The agency replaces Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, which handled the account for 21 years and didn't make the short list for presentations.
The state of Florida would be the centerpiece for future ads. "The imagery of Florida is absolutely wonderful for communicating vitality," John Barnes, Ammirati exec VP-managing director, told the commissioners gathered here to hear the agencies' ideas.
Ammirati's proposals beat out WestGroup, Tampa; Grey Advertising, New York; and the Richards Group, Dallas. Each shop gave 1-hour presentations attended by 11 members of the Florida Citrus Commission and 50 press and executives from non-participating agencies. Florida law mandates all government meetings-including ad presentations-be open to the public.
Rival shops couldn't sit in on each other's pitches, of course. But competing marketers were taking notes. Two executives from Coca-Cola Foods' Minute Maid brand looked on in surprise as WestGroup presented a storyboard using polar bears-similar to ads for its parent's Coca-Cola Classic soft drink-but with one bear drinking orange juice and the other a soda.
WestGroup gave each commissioner a replica Chevrolet pickup with a strand of orange beads resembling the would-be client's product in the truck bed. Ammirati gave out T-shirts.
"I love to see how commissioners react to the presentations," said Mary Beth Williams, VP-account leader with Harris Drury Cohen, Fort Lauderdale, hoping to gauge the dialogue between commissioners.
But there wasn't any. After Richards Group Principal Stan Richards closed his agency's 10-minute summary, commissioners tallied their votes without discussion. Their 100-point judging forms, which broke down presentations by creative product, planning, experience and media, went ignored, instead deferring to their personal rankings of agencies from first to last.
Votes were collected and counted and, 10 minutes later, Eugene Richmond, director of marketing for processed products, read aloud the winner's name.
Ammirati won with a plurality of five first-place votes. Richards took second with four; WestGroup and Grey split two.
The presenters "appeal to the commissioners, but just watching their faces, you never know what they're thinking," said Phil Schwartz, partner with Turkel Schwartz & Partners, Coconut Grove, Fla., set to make a similar trip later this year when presentations are held for the $29 million Florida Lottery account.