Faced with serious overproduction of cranberries, Ocean Spray is harvesting the excess early, when the berries are paler in color, and creating an innovative White Cranberry juice line. The resulting product has a sweeter taste that's aimed at bringing in kids, a franchise not normally part of the cranberry cocktail crowd.
Making Ocean Spray's $14 million advertising play pay off is undeniably tough in a marketplace where there are a number of strongly entrenched, well-supported children's juice brand competitors-Coca-Cola Co.'s Mi-nute Maid and PepsiCo's Tropicana among them. But Ocean Spray has already shown its marketing moxie, having nixed selling out in favor of an ambitious program to build its 70% share of cranberry sales through new products and out-of-the-box thinking. In the current state of oversupply, Ocean Spray has a clear resolve. "The cranberry category needs to market its way out of the situation," said spokesman Chris Phillips.
The White Cranberry varieties present a truly new product in an over-saturated category. They also afford the marketer a greater opening to increase sales to families while driving consumption beyond breakfast. With youthful, palate-pleasing flavors such as White Cranberry Peach and White Cranberry Strawberry, Ocean Spray now will have a product line that gives it a fighting chance to go after an enormous consumer base it has so far been unable to tap successfully. And, simultaneously, the co-operative manages to find a use for its oversupply of fruit.
It's a potentially win-win solution for both Ocean Spray and the consumer. How sweet it is.