Will Made-in-the-USA Boast Work for Florida's Natural?

Juice Brand Takes on Tropicana, Simply Orange With 'Read the Label' Campaign

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- While many marketers have issued a "made in America" call to action to rouse consumers into buying their goods, those efforts have historically failed to move the sales needle. But Florida's Natural is betting shoppers do care about domestic origins when it comes to orange juice.

Florida's Natural print adEnlarge

The brand is pouring its entire fourth-quarter ad budget, which last year accounted for almost half of its annual marketing spending, into a campaign that focuses on a "Read the Label" message, taking bigger brands such as Simply Orange and Tropicana to task for importing juice from Brazil. Florida's Natural is produced by a co-op of citrus growers in Florida.

Print ads highlight the small print on PepsiCo's Tropicana and Coca-Cola's Simply Orange packages and say, "If we imported orange juice, we'd make the type as small as possible too." Those ads are running in People magazine, while online buys include Yahoo and AOL.

TV spots take a similar approach to the fine print, saying, "There's something your orange juice isn't telling you, at least not where you're likely to see it." The TV ad buys are running through December and include Animal Planet, Bravo, Food Network, Hallmark, Oxygen and TLC, among others.

As a part of the effort, packages of Florida's Natural have also been stamped with a new graphic that reads "Product of USA."

Last year Florida's Natural spent only $5 million on measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence, though that was off significantly from 2007 when the company spent $21 million. The brand's creative agency is 22squared.

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Beverage experts say it's unlikely the campaign will make a significant dent in market share against leaders Tropicana and Simply Orange, though the approach does provide Florida's Natural with a point of differentiation in a competitive category. "Maybe three, four, five years down the line, if they continue to build on this, it may be a way to gain share," said Joe Pawlak, VP at Technomic. "But, in the short term, they'll see minimal gains."

Executives from Florida's Natural declined to comment.

Experts in the category expect the pro-U.S. campaign will sway few consumers. Like plenty of U.S.-based manufacturers before it, Florida's Natural is likely to find that consumers are disinterested in that particular facet of the debate. But the recession, to some degree, may have revived an interest among certain consumers in supporting U.S. businesses.

"This is a campaign that will resonate with some consumers but not all," said Gary Hemphill, managing director-chief operating officer at Beverage Marketing Corp. "There is a belief that as the economy has sputtered, more consumers will see buying American as the right thing to do in an effort to help boost the domestic economy."

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