BERDUSCO BRINGS A BOLDER BRAND ATTITUDE TO TROPICANA: FRITO-LAY EXEC AIMS TO DRIVE AD SPENDING, NEW PRODUCTS AT JUICE MARKETER

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Roger berdusco thinks Tropicana Pure Premium has been too shy about its enviable status as one of the largest brands in U.S. supermarkets.

In his new role as senior VP-marketing at Tropicana Products, Mr. Berdusco plans to squeeze more out of the $942 million orange juice brand's market position by increasing ad spending and introducing a steady flow of new products.

"There is so much potential for us to leverage the positive nutritional benefits of this product," he said. "This is what consumers are looking for."

Mr. Berdusco, 37, joins Tropicana from sibling PepsiCo company Frito-Lay North America, where he rose from product manager to senior VP-marketing. PepsiCo acquired Tropicana in August.

NEW BATTLEFIELD, OLD WAR

The buy not only gave PepsiCo the top-ranked orange juice brand, it established a new battlefield in its perennial war with Coca-Cola Co., the owner of No. 3-ranked OJ brand Minute Maid.

Sales of Tropicana Pure Premium grew 14.6% during the 52 weeks ended March 28, according to Information Resources Inc., and Minute Maid's sales were up even more-a healthy 15.9%.

His challenge, Mr. Berdusco said, will be to "keep this great growth story going."

'SOME REALLY GOOD ADVERTISING'

In particular, he said, Tropicana's line of calcium-fortified juices are poised for sales growth. Revenue for the line has doubled over the past two years, fueled by "some really good advertising" from Foote, Cone & Belding, New York, he said.

"I want to take all of that great work and help lead it to the next level," Mr. Berdusco added.

The distinctive advertising for Tropicana is shot in b&w with only the actual product depicted in color-orange, of course.

Mr. Berdusco declined to say how much he planned to boost ad spending but indicated he's serious about increasing brand awareness.

"With so much clutter in the marketplace surrounding us, you have to be creative and fresh," he noted. "We are going to be aggressive, but I'm not sure how that will pan out in terms of actual dollars."

In 1998, Tropicana Products spent $23.3 million on advertising, according to Competitive Media Reporting; by comparison, Minute Maid spent $43.2 million.

OJ FOR BREAKFAST EFFORT

One new effort will be to boost sales of OJ for breakfast. In what may be a surprising statistic, only 20% of breakfasts in the U.S. include orange juice, Mr. Berdusco said.

Rival Minute Maid also is seeking to increase morning consumption, having started a new campaign May 10.

The executive also said he intends to target kids. "We will market it to apply to different targets," he said.

In his eight years at Frito-Lay, Mr. Berdusco said he's particularly proud of his work in building the Doritos and Tostitos brands.

Said Brock Leach, president of Frito-Lay Development Group, he's "completely in touch with developing great consumer propositions."

Earlier in his career, Mr. Berdusco worked on Kraft Foods' Maxwell House coffee.

"The stars aligned," he said of this new opportunity, which puts him in charge

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