Capri Sun Taps Kids and John Legend for No-Added-Sugar Line

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A print ad in Capri Sun's new campaign.
A print ad in Capri Sun's new campaign. Credit: Capri Sun

For years kids have tried to convince their parents to buy drinks such as Capri Sun, and for years many parents have resisted because of the added sugar. Now, with growing competition from Honest Kids pouches and Juicy Juice organic juice boxes, Capri Sun is giving parents another possible answer.

The Kraft Heinz brand is promoting four new and updated juices and juice drinks made without added sugar. "Parents have been consistently telling us as a brand that they would like more options," says Melanie Huet, who joined Kraft Heinz this summer as VP of innovation and equity overseeing the beverage, snacks and nuts division. "They'd like more choices that are made with all-natural ingredients and no added sugar."

And Capri Sun could use a boost. Sales have fallen about 6 percent so far this year. Still, it's one of Kraft Heinz's larger brands, and accounts for about 25 percent market share of kids' single-serve beverages in the United States, the company says.

Ads highlight kids and John Legend, a relatively new celebrity dad.

Capri Sun was already made without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The no-added-sugar lines are Capri Sun Fruit Refreshers, Capri Sun Organic, Capri Sun 100% Juice and Capri Sun Fruit & Veggie Blends.

Fruit & Veggie Blends is a relaunch of Super V, which came out in 2012 with a moniker that really didn't convey that it contained half a cup of fruit and vegetable juice, Huet says.

Marketing pictures kids trying to get a mom's attention with things like preparing to buzz off a sibling's hair.

And in Legend's latest role, the singer/songwriter plays a guy bugging a mom trying to enjoy her yoga class. His comments become increasingly odd as he is fed lines from her kids behind the scenes. Yet the mom holds her cool -- and her poses. Only in the end is it clear that Legend is there to promote Capri Sun.

Sugar-sweetened drinks are leading sources of added sugars in Americans' diets, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says 63% of kids drank such beverages on a given day from 2011 through 2014.

Still, Capri Sun isn't eliminating adding sugar from every line, saying it doesn't want to cut out consumers who want those drinks in general or for certain occasions. There are now seven different Capri Sun drinks. Why so many? Capri Sun hopes to target a mix of parents, from those who want 100% juice for younger kids to others who only want to serve organic products. The main sugar-sweetened Capri Sun juice drink is still the brand's top seller.

Advertising spending will increase this year, Huet says, without sharing details. Leo Burnett is Capri Sun's primary ad agency, with Starcom on media and Olson handling public relations. U.S. measured media spending was close to $19.2 million in the first half of 2017 and $38.3 million for all of 2016, according to data from Kantar Media.

Most of the new campaign was in place when Huet joined, but she says she has helped the team think about different ways to reach parents, including reaching out to more mom and dad bloggers.

It took the brand about a year to come up with the no-added-sugar products, about as long as it took to develop clear-bottomed pouches introduced in in 2014. Those were meant to assuage concerns about occasional mold growth in the drinks, which Capri Sun said stemmed from its lack of artificial ingredients.

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