Opinion: Stimulating Citrus Sales

Earlier this year, it became clear that funding citrus disease research projects recommended by the National Academy of Sciences would not require the full $20 million earmarked for this fiscal year. As a result, the Florida Citrus Commission asked the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) to create an incremental targeted marketing program to accelerate orange juice movement in order to impact record inventory levels.

The resulting orange juice and grapefruit stimulus plans are designed to recapture and strengthen media presence and to increase visibility through retail channels.

On TV

Television commercials highlighting the health and wellness benefits of orange juice will now air nationally throughout the spring and summer to keep our product top of mind and influence purchasing behavior. This enhanced media plan achieves near-record television levels not seen since 2004–2005.

In Stores

These incremental marketing dollars will enable FDOC to expand in-store advertising, a growing form of marketing used by consumer packaged-goods companies to reach shoppers at the point of purchase. Ads on in-store video networks build brand equity by reinforcing marketing messages consumers see at home through screens in retail stores. FDOC spots will air in all Walmart Supercenters this spring, reaching 71 million shoppers each month.

Also within the retail environment, FDOC will expand placement of orange juice health and wellness messages on free blood-pressure machines located in supermarket pharmacies. Through the LifeClinic program, proven to generate sales increases up to 28%, orange juice messages will appear in approximately 6,400 retail pharmacies, including all Walmart Supercenters. Many retail partners will display orange juice informational brochures at the blood pressure machines and in the refrigerated juice section, allowing FDOC to expand its presence to two key store locations.

On The Web

Marketing Accountability Partnership (MAP) research conducted for FDOC last year showed that increased online advertising offers significant opportunity to drive product sales. FDOC will strategically target consumers as they plan purchases through Walmart.com, a website visited by up to 40 million consumers per month. A six-month presence will create visibility for orange juice through banner ads, customized content, and a push e-mail newsletter distributed to nine million potential shoppers.

The stimulus plan also provides dollars to boost grapefruit marketing efforts. FDOC will utilize incremental dollars to increase media exposure and enhance viral partnerships for Florida grapefruit.

FDOC capitalized on the Oscar awards season to reach our target consumer, women 25 to 44 years old with an intense interest in celebrity lifestyles. Florida grapefruit’s leading role in delivering health and vitality, along with beauty and style, was communicated through sampling events prior to the Oscars. Cable television segments featuring Valerie Waters, celebrity trainer and food coach, who described how Florida grapefruit helps individuals get “Ruby Red Carpet Ready” and drove 1.75 million viewers to GoFloridaGrapefruit.com.

This spring, FDOC will expand viral partnerships through strategically targeted websites. Grapefruit banner ads, customized content, grapefruit-centric shopping lists, and more will appear on SheKnows.com and several Sugar Inc. websites reaching 12 million viewers.

Driving Demand

The current orange juice and grapefruit stimulus plans illustrate how the FDOC marketing team, in conjunction with our contract agencies, utilizes emerging communication channels to effectively reach consumers with Florida citrus messages and drive product sales.

We anticipate another challenging year during fiscal 2009–2010. FDOC will continue to support a sustainable future for the Florida citrus industry by balancing critical disease research funding with vital marketing programs to maintain strong consumer demand for our products.

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