SUNKIST BRAND AGAIN TRIES TO SQUEEZE INTO JUICES: PRIVATE-LABEL OJ LEADER, BANKING ON EXPERIENCE IN CATEGORY, LICENSES NAME

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Private-label orange juice leader Lykes-Pasco hopes to trade on the Sunkist name to market a new premium branded juice.

Others with deeper ad pockets have tried and failed with a Sunkist juice, but the grower co-op believes its juice expertise will make the difference.

Lykes-Pasco has licensed the trademark from co-op Sunkist Growers for an orange juice now testing in Buffalo, N.Y., and Jacksonville, Fla.

ADS START IN SPRING

TV and print support-said to be the equivalent of $5 million to $10 million on a national level-kicks off this spring via McKinney & Silver, Tampa, Fla. Ads will center on the theme, "The best orange is the best orange juice."

Lykes-Pasco also markets Florida Gold orange juice in the Southeast, but VP-Marketing John Bauer said the company decided the Sunkist name had more brand equity for a larger-scale launch.

"Efforts to do it with the Florida Gold name would be cost-prohibitive-it'd take more money and time," he said.

The Sunkist juice also is available in Canada, where Lykes-Pasco markets its Old South brand.

Lykes-Pasco settled on the Sunkist name, which Mr. Bauer said ranks 35th in Landor Associates' Brand Power Study, to get instant name recognition.

But that name recognition didn't keep Sunkist Growers from recently abandoning an attempt to market a Sunkist orange juice. Even the marketing firepower of Unilever's Lipton division failed to ignite sales of a Sunkist branded orange juice in the early 1980s.

Mr. Bauer, a former executive with rival Tropicana Products, said earlier efforts failed because they were conducted by companies whose main business wasn't juice. Given Lykes-Pasco's deep-rooted experience in orange juice, he said, "We have the infrastructure and expertise that very few companies have."

'CLASSIC' APPROACH

He wouldn't detail the ad plans, other than to say Lykes-Pasco will employ "a classic branded marketing approach" with "top-notch, strong marketing, packaging and promotion."

Lykes-Pasco's measured ad spending for Florida Gold was $1.2 million for the first nine months of 1996, according to Competitive Media Reporting.M

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