NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- With sales declining, prices rising and competition increasing thanks to new blends, flavors and fortified beverages, orange juice is in need of a jumpstart. Can a raft of new ads take OJ beyond the breakfast table and make it contemporary -- even cool?
With the launch of a quirky new campaign, Minute Maid Orange Juice wants to bring young adults and men into the fold. The approach is atypical of the category, which tends to focus on the primary grocery shopper, mom. But, said Charles Torrey, VP-marketing at Minute Maid, consumption data shows that men and young adults are also purchasing and consuming plenty of orange juice.
"It's all part of bringing the brand to a more contemporary place to broaden our reach and appeal," Mr. Torrey said of the new campaign, titled "Wake Up Your MMOJO." "Obviously, we don't want to do anything that will alienate our current consumer, but we want to recruit new consumers into the franchise. ... [We want] to connect with not only the primary purchaser but the ultimate user."
The campaign is the first in nearly eight years for Minute Maid Orange Juice, as the Coca-Cola-owned company has focused on advertising its Enhanced and Simply lines in recent years. Humor and an edgy tone will be hallmarks of the campaign, created by its longtime agency, independent Doner. It's slated to run throughout 2011 and will show up in places Minute Maid has not advertised its orange juice before, such as MTV2, FX, ESPN the Magazine and Entertainment Weekly. TV ads began airing in January, while print, digital, social-media and mobile elements are slated to roll out in the coming months. Mr. Torrey declined to discuss spending on the campaign, beyond to say it would be "significant." Minute Maid, overall, spent $19 million on measured media through November, according to Kantar Media, though it spent $35 million in 2009.
Historically, Mr. Torrey said, orange juice ads have targeted an older consumer, but it's a product that crosses demographic lines. To that end, the commercials veer from the typical beauty shots of juicy oranges to take a decidedly tongue-in-cheek tone. One spot takes place at a wedding where a male guest drinking Minute Maid becomes so much the center of attention that he is toasted by the groom and chased after by the bride. A suave male announcer deadpans: "Observe. Minute Maid OJ makes him feel good. And people like people who feel good. It's called mojo and my friend here is feeling it."
"We want to be bold and a little edgier. It's really taking snapshots of things that consumers can relate to and situations that are relevant to their daily lives," Mr. Torrey said of the campaign. "We don't want to do just the same family scene: mom around the table with 2.3 kids and half a dog."
While other OJ brands have created decidedly offbeat ads -- PepsiCo's low-sugar Trop50 brand, for example, is airing a Jane Krakowski-starring spot in which she slaps a hunky gardener while whispering that she'd like him to come in for a glass of OJ -- they are clearly targeting women, whereas Minute Maid's goal is to go after men and youth.
The effort, said Garima Goel Lal, senior consumer analyst at market researcher Mintel, is a step in the right direction. In addition to "flavor fatigue," orange juice has been relegated to the breakfast table, she said, presenting brands with a marketing conundrum.
"Orange juice has not been able to capture the magic it once had for consumers," Ms. Goel Lal said. "Marketers need to bring more drinking occasions to the orange-juice flavor. ... They either need to create orange-juice blends or new positioning."
Minute Maid's new campaign, Ms. Goel Lal said, injects a bit of energy into the brand. "They're making [juice] more exciting and racy, though not as racy as an energy drink," she said.
The new campaign also showcases Minute Maid's redesigned packages. And one spot highlights a single-serve bottle that is consumed by a man in an airport. The decision to promote single-serve containers is a savvy one. According to SymphonyIRI Group, refrigerated orange juice sales at supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchants, excluding Walmart, fell nearly 4% in the 52 weeks ended Dec. 26. But, said Bill Pecoriello, CEO of Consumer Edge Research, while orange-juice sales overall are soft, single-serve juice sales in convenience stores have been growing at a rate of about 15%.