Michelle Chandler, the citrus department's new executive deputy director of global marketing and public relations and a former Procter & Gamble Co. cosmetics executive, helped bring about the unusual tactic as a way to stem double-digit declines for grapefruit juice and break through the clutter of the highly competitive beverage market.
"Grapefruit has started popping up in a lot of beauty products because of the natural invigoration when you smell it, and -- in part because of my prior experience with cosmetics -- a light bulb went off: If scent strips are successful with beauty-care products and fragrances, why not beverages?" Ms. Chandler said.
The new print ads,
Research showed that grapefruit juice naturally contains many of the features other beverages are engineered to provide, including a host of vitamins and nutrients and a refreshing kick, Ms. Chandler said. But the juice has been inconsistently marketed, both by the citrus department and individual brand marketers, and so it has drawn little attention from young consumers.
Small ad budget
With a small budget -- $2.2 million for both public relations and advertising -- the department wanted a creative message to reach out to its desired target, women aged 21 to 40. Sampling was too costly and time-consuming, Ms. Chandler said, so the idea of scent strips was a good alternative, the next best thing to allowing consumers to try the juice itself.
The campaign will run in issues of lifestyle magazines such as Time Inc.'s People, In Style and Real Simple starting this month.
The great hope, Ms. Chandler said, is that the effort will rejuvenate grapefruit juice as a viable beverage choice and drive juice marketers to support their own grapefruit juice brands with more consistent advertising.
The category dropped nearly 10% to $198 million in sales during the past 52 weeks, according to the department's data. In January, the department kicked off its $25 million effort for orange juice, also from Richards Group, featuring the tagline "Best start under the sun," and, Ms. Chandler said, "the numbers are looking good."