Tropicana tries Drenchers out in test markets

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Tropicana Products plans to juice up its stake in the growing kids beverage category, provided tests of its new product are successful.

The PepsiCo unit is in the early stages of a test of a kid-targeted juice line in upstate New York and Iowa. The product, dubbed Tropicana Drenchers, is a 30% juice beverage in orange, strawberry and tropical flavors that is fortified with vitamins A, C, E and calcium.

Drenchers is intended to compete against kid offerings such as Procter & Gamble Co.'s Sunny Delight; Minute Maid Co.'s Hi-C, which was recently fortified with calcium; and Campbell Soup Co.'s V8 Splash, a calcium-fortified version of which was recently introduced in juice boxes (AA, Nov. 15).

Tropicana, under former parent Seagram Co., had previously tested a kid-targeted line of fortified, not-from-concentrate, 100% juices in six-packs of single-serve plastic bottles called Tropicana Bursters.

A SWEETER TASTE

Drenchers, non-refrigerated juice drinks, are intended to lure kids directly with a sweeter taste. The new line comes in six-packs of 8-ounce plastic bottles and offers a higher juice content than Tropicana's young adult-targeted Tropicana Twisters lineup but less than the marketer's current calcium-fortified 100% juice boxes, designed to attract mothers to buy.

"Tropicana hasn't used packaging to create `pester power,' where kids are pulling on mom's pant leg in the store to get them to buy the product," said Jonathan Asher, managing partner of brand identity and packing design shop Coleman Group. "There's always a balance between kid and mom appeal, but kids tend to like things they feel are just for them."

MYSTERIOUS BEHAVIOR

Tropicana is using the "just for them" strategy with a TV campaign, from FCB Worldwide, New York, to support the Drenchers line in the two test markets. The 30-second spot, which began airing in October, features a mom disguised as an archeologist. During her research on the mysterious behavior of kids, the khakis-clad woman discovers the new Drenchers fruit beverage with vitamins and minerals is "nutrition they seem to find pleasurable."

Tropicana spent $32.3 million on measured media in the first 10 months of 1999, including $20,000 on Drenchers, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

According to a company spokeswoman, Tropicana will not decide on the viability of a national rollout for Drenchers for at least six months.

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