Sunny D goes tropical

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Procter & Gamble Co. hopes a $20 million launch this spring of a Caribbean style variety fruit drink will "unleash the power" of its Sunny Delight line by increasing sales.

The introduction of the tropical blend is one of the biggest initiatives for the brand in many years, according to a company spokeswoman. To tout the new flavor, P&G will use extensive advertising that entreats tweens and moms to "Unleash the power of the sun." Previous efforts for Sunny Delight, from Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, have used the tagline, "Strength to shine."

Sunny Delight was hit hard by competitors, especially Welch Foods' Welch's brand and new international brand Tampico, marketed in the U.S. by Chicago-based Marbo. As sales of Sunny Delight dipped 7% to $279 million for the year ended Feb. 25, Tampico grew 17% to $106 million and Welch's grew 57% to $60 million, according to Information Resources Inc.

According to Tom Pirko, president of beverage consultancy Bevmark, Tampico is popular with Latin and African-American consumers, traditionally strong consumers of Sunny Delight, he said. But the new Caribbean variety reflects P&G's acknowledgment of the "browning of America" and the need to appeal to ethnic and racial groups other than caucasians.

P&G expects, based on positive taste tests, that the new flavor will be able to trump the competition by extending usage of Sunny Delight beyond typical morning-only consumption to afternoon occasions as well, the spokeswoman said. According to P&G, such incremental usage could result in an additional $95 million in sales for Sunny D in its first year.

TV and radio advertising aimed at the brand's tween target will run July 15 through Dec. 31. TV ads feature a tropical Caribbean setting where active kids drink the new variety throughout the day. Print ads geared toward moms will run in July, September and November magazines touting Sunny Delight's inclusion of vitamins A, B, C and E plus the great new flavor that appeals to kids' taste buds.

The extensive push comes even as P&G President-CEO A.G. Lafley pledged last week to make serious cutbacks at the company (see above). The deepest of the job losses will come in the food and beverage businesses, where Mr. Lafley said some brands, including Sunny Delight, have seen problematic price increases. P&G had already announced that 4,000 of its food and beverage employees would shift to the new snacks and juices company it currently is forming with Coca-Cola Co. Sunny Delight Caribbean Style will be actively supported by P&G throughout the spring and summer, but will be shifted to the new company when it becomes operational, a spokeswoman said.

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