MINUTE MAID PUTS OJ BACK IN MORNINGS: COCA-COLA UNIT SHIFTS FROM TREND TOUTING DRINK FOR OTHER TIMES OF DAY

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Minute Maid Co. has a message for consumers: Mornings are better with orange juice.

New advertising from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, is designed to reinforce orange juice's standing as the breakfast drink of choice. This is a change for the category, where marketers have attempted to expand OJ consumption to other times of the day.

The division of Coca-Cola Co. will roll out five 30-second TV spots in the coming weeks, the start of an estimated $45 million campaign. More commercials will follow later in the year, and companion print ads break in June issues of magazines.

IN THE BEGINNING

The feel-good ads show folks enjoying the beginning of the day. In one, a little girl savors a glass of OJ just before heading out for her big dive. In another, touting calcium-fortified Minute Maid, young adults work out in the open air as they get ready for their day.

The campaign marks a new phase in a project launched two years ago to reposition Minute Maid as a premium product with good taste. Sales have been frothy, climbing 15.9% to $518 million for the 52-week period ended March 28, according to Information Resources Inc.

GLIMPSES OF MORNINGS

The new Minute Maid theme "Squeeze the day" replaces "Bite into it," which featured scenes in orange groves.

The advertising "gives glimpses into people's mornings," and stems from research that revealed Minute Maid drinkers truly enjoy waking up every day, said Joseph Scalzo, senior VP-chief marketing officer.

"The ritual of experiencing the product in the morning is a positive affirmation that they feel good about themselves," he said.

The effort is getting a "significant" boost in spending, Mr. Scalzo said, with TV slated for every week of the year.

Minute Maid spent $39 million in measured media last year for its premium line, according to Competitive Media Reporting, with a company spokesman saying the budget boost is about 15% for this year.

The campaign will include two :30s targeted to Hispanic consumers from Doner, Southfield, Mich., marking that shop's first work on the brand. A Coca-Cola roster agency, Doner was given the assignment in part because its holiday ads for Coca-Cola Classic were well-received, Mr. Scalzo said.

Coca-Cola has been shaking up assignments among its long list of roster shops, in what observers say is a bid to get creative juices flowing.

TROPICANA ON TOP

Minute Maid is the third-largest brand in the $2.7 billion chilled orange juice category. Tropicana dominates the business, followed by private-label product. Recently, both Minute Maid and Tropicana have been enjoying sales boosts as private-label sales have slid.

One of the commercials features a new product, Home Squeezed Style, currently being expanded to the Midwest after a successful test on the West Coast. It will hit Eastern stores later this year, Mr. Scalzo said.

A focus on breakfast may not seem like a huge leap for orange juice advertising. But in recent years, marketers have tried to extend the reach of their products to other times of day, noted Gary Hemphill, VP-information services, Beverage Marketing Corp.

Minute Maid's new strategy makes sense, he said.

GOING WITH 'REALITY'

"Efforts have been to make it ubiquitous, when the reality is consumption has been in the morning," he said. "There are so many beverage options out there today, between bottled water and sports drinks and teas, that consumers are almost overwhelmed by choices.

"It's safe to say that juice owns the morning. They probably have their greatest opportunity to increase sales by focusing on where their greatest consumption is," the executive said.

The marketer also is giving its Minute Maid lemonade a facelift, for its 50th birthday. New packaging and a new theme, "Lemonade that's lemon made!" is touting the brand's use of real lemons. Newspaper ads broke last week in USA Today, and there will be two national free-standing inserts and a 10-city sampling program.

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