New Ads Stretch Brand Icon Across Other Fruit Lines

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Miss Chiquita doesn't just hawk bananas anymore.

Over the last few years, Chiquita Fresh North America has

Breaking with tradition, new ads show Miss Chiquita eating a cantaloupe.
expanded its portfolio to include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, among them grapes and cantaloupes, and now it will announce that little-known fact to consumers in a TV campaign that began Friday.

'More than just bananas'
The national network and cable effort marks a substantial increase over last year's less than $1 million radio spend, said Sherrie Terry, Chiquita vice president of marketing.

"We're investing more because we're introducing Chiquita to the world as more than just bananas this year," she said.

The campaign features four spots, from Doner Advertising, Southfield, Mich., each depicting children interacting with parents and grandparents. In one spot, a father and daughter enjoy Chiquita grapes, in another a grandmother and her grandson share a

Since she was created as the symbol for the first attempt to brand bananas in 1944, Miss Chiquita has always been a mellow yellow girl. In fact, throughout most of her career she has actually been a banana wearing a Carmen Miranda hat. In the late 1980s, she changed into a human-shaped cartoon character. And now, in 2002, in a radical departure from her lifelong habit, Chiquita has expanded her dance card to include other genus of partners.
Read the full history of Miss Chiquita.
Chiquita cantaloupe; two spots show a mom and son eating Chiquita bananas.

Voice-overs tell adults to guide children to eat fruit and suggest they "share something good with them." The tagline asserts "Chiquita. Perfect for Life." Miss Chiquita appears at the end carrying a basket filled with a melange of fruits and enjoying the featured variety.

Cantaloupe and grapes
While Chiquita also markets peaches, plums, grapefruits, greenhouse vegetables and pears, among other fresh produce, per capita consumption of cantaloupe and grapes is "fairly high" and the two are sold nearly year-round compared to other more seasonal offerings, Ms. Terry said.

Bananas are still the largest portion of Chiquita volume, she said, but as retailers have consolidated, they have requested additional Chiquita-branded products, hoping the brand will give consumers confidence in their produce departments. Chiquita said its research shows that the familiar Chiquita blue label attached to produce in a retailer's ad helps drive sales by as much as 60% compared with generic fruit ads.

The TV effort will be supported with retailer-specific billboards in 20 markets and a 20-city tour featuring Miss Chiquita

Chiquita Brands International, the holding company for Chiquita Fresh, is still reorganizing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy rules.

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