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Orange beverages haven't always been kind to Procter & Gamble Co. Erstwhile investments in Orange Crush soda and Citrus Hill orange juice in the 1980s had analysts doubting if P&G belonged in beverages.

Then came Sunny Delight. Since P&G acquired the then 24-year-old regional brand in 1989, sales have more than tripled, rising 22.4% in 1995 alone to $343 million, according to Information Resources Inc. The brand has 54.5% of the refrigerated fruit-drink category, a still fledgling market that includes entries from megabrands Minute Maid and Tropicana.

Mike Griffith, general manager for Sunny Delight, credits market research, growing media support and partnership with retailers who have added refrigerated space to tap the brand's potential.

Sunny Delight was positioned for young children and barely advertised when P&G acquired it, says Mr. Griffith, 39. Early research indicated repositioning for teens.

So P&G added catchier packaging and rap music-laden advertising by GBF/Ayer, Los Angeles, featuring teens choosing Sunny Delight among a variety of beverages. The product caught on, earning the nickname "Sunny D" from its teen-age consumers.

Though the brand now dominates its narrowly defined category, Mr. Griffith sees Sunny Delight's potential more broadly: "It accounts for less than 1% of all beverages consumers drink. In that context, there's a lot of opportunity."

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