Juice marketers boost health claims

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A new raft of advertising and non-traditional marketing will raise to new heights the claim that juice is good for what ails you.

From Tropicana Products' claim that orange juice can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke; Minute Maid Co.'s message that its new antioxidant-fortified orange juice can help build the immune system; or Ocean Spray Cranberries' contention that cranberries play an important role in overall health, juice marketers are on a healing tear.

Touting juice as healthy, or even as a way to prevent disease, isn't new. Calcium-fortified juice, for example, has grown to 30% of the nearly $2 billion orange juice category in the past five years. Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail has long been said to prevent and treat urinary tract infections. But now, juice marketers are aiming to differentiate themselves from a jumble of other healthy beverage marketers by taking their efforts to the next level.

"In general, marketers are hoping to demonstrate to consumers that there are ways of treating conditions without the use of pharmaceuticals," said Scott Van Winkle, analyst with investment bank Adams Harkness & Hill. Calcium-fortified juice "is just the beginning. Eventually, we're going to have six or so different orange juices tailor made for our specific needs."

TROPICANA'S TACK

PepsiCo's Tropicana didn't have to alter its Pure Premium formula to bolster its latest health initiative. Instead, the orange juice leader took advantage of a new fast-track health claim approval process at the Food & Drug Administration to hype the benefits of potassium already in orange juice. The newly approved claim allows marketing to maintain that "Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke."

But the claim itself, now carried on select sizes of Original, Homestyle and Grovestand varieties, is just the start. Tropicana is reaching out to the American public, especially the estimated 50 million people with high blood pressure.

Page print ads, developed by Frankel, Chicago, broke last week in publications including USA Today and The New York Times and featured a 96 oz. plastic jug of Tropicana Pure Premium donning a stethoscope. Copy reads, "Drink what your heart tells you to. The great taste you love features a surprising benefit."

A new logo created around the health claim features Tropicana's signature orange stuck through with a straw and featuring a heart.

In addition to the print ads, Tropicana will launch a TV campaign from FCB Worldwide, New York, in January. Non-traditional efforts include the dissemination of information packets to 6,000 dietitians that include small cards displaying the various foods and serving sizes that qualify for the claim, such as 8 oz. glasses of Tropicana; a Web site, (tropicanahealth.com) where consumers can send e-cards about the claim to loved ones with high blood pressure; ads on 5,000 VitaStat public blood pressure machines in grocery stores across the country; and point-of-purchase materials including temporary display coolers shaped like Tropicana orange juice cartons that tout the claim.

Though Tropicana competitor Minute Maid has the right to use the new potassium claim as well, the Coca-Cola Co. unit is relying on the American Heart Association logo it carries on packaging to reflect its heart-healthiness and focus on other health issues, such as building the immune system, to differentiate itself.

Following up on earlier introductions of a new Minute Maid Ruby Red grapefruit juice with calcium and Home Squeezed orange juice with calcium, Minute Maid last month introduced the first-ever orange juice fortified with Vitamins C and E plus zinc. To tout the new antioxidant-rich juice variety, Minute Maid modified an existing TV commercial from its "Squeeze the day" campaign to reflect the new package.

The spot, from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, does not specifically speak to how the combination of nutrients helps build the immune system, but Minute Maid is educating consumers about the benefits of C, E and Zinc on product packaging and its Web site, and through public relations efforts and the sponsorship of various scientific studies.

`USING EVERY MEANS WE HAVE'

"We are using every means we have at our disposal to create awareness about the health benefits of our products," said Charles Torrey, director of marketing for breakfast beverages at Minute Maid. In addition to devoting a full side panel of the new juice variety's packaging to the benefits of antioxidants, Minute Maid's Web site (minutemaid.com) features nutritionist Caroline Moore in "Caroline's Corner." The feature goes into depth about nutrition and the benefits of Minute Maid's products specifically. Minute Maid also is committed to basing its nutritional messages on scientific findings and, to that end, is sponsoring a bone study at Tufts University. "We're not chasing the latest trend; we want to make sure there's good science behind the items we launch," Mr. Torrey said.

Scientific research also is key to Ocean Spray's new strategy to apprise consumers of the fact that cranberries are good for more than just urinary tract health.

In September, Ocean Spray hosted a conference for nutrition researchers on emerging scientific findings that cranberries have benefits "beyond the bladder," an Ocean Spray spokesman said. "We were always associated with health, but now we're going to be more specific about the whole-body benefits of cranberries," he said.

New print broke recently in publications such as Newsweek, People and Time touting Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail as "Good for every body." Ads are headlined, "Big news can come from the most unlikely place, in this case a cranberry bog." The ad, from Arnold Worldwide, Boston, quotes researchers extolling cranberries' health benefits for hearts, stomach ulcers and breast cancer.

Ocean Spray invests a good deal of money in the research behind these findings, including working with industry group the Cranberry Institute, which is establishing itself as a central voice in cranberry health science, the Ocean Spray spokesman said.

`TASTE OF LIFE'

In addition, Ocean Spray recently developed a book that features chapters on urinary tract health, antioxidants and heart health as well as cranberry juice-based recipes, Web links and tips for women on general health. "A Taste of Life: A Fresh Approach to Health, Wellness & Food for Women" is being distributed to health and wellness professionals and will be offered to consumers via various promotions. Its oceanspray.com site also will provide similar information on the health values of cranberries, as will banner ads on health-related sites such as WebMD.com and health.com.

Because of FDA rules for health claims, Ocean Spray will only nod to the emerging scientific research about cranberries' larger role in advertising and public relations, while packaging will continue to reflect the juice's benefits for urinary tract health. The urinary tract health claim also will be supported with a couponing program at pharmacies that sparks a coupon for Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail for consumers who pick up prescriptions for urinary tract infections.

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