As we get ready to usher in another cold and flu season, I, like many others in our industry, am turning to a daily glass of Florida orange juice in the hope it will keep me healthy. It’s not just wishful thinking. Thanks to years of scientific research, conducted by both our own industry and others, we have the evidence to back it up. Studies show that drinking vitamin C-packed, 100% orange juice every day might help shorten the duration of a cold and lessen harsh symptoms.
When it comes to marketing Florida citrus, those types of scientific studies fuel everything we do. Our emphasis on the nutritional benefits of Florida citrus isn’t new, but a lot has changed over the years. So what marketing messages will best boost Florida orange juice?
The Past May Not Be the Best Inspiration
In December 1936, as a flu epidemic struck parts of the country, the Florida Citrus Commission authorized the first flu advertising campaign focused on Florida citrus. At a time when reliance on scientific research in advertising wasn’t common, we’re probably safe to assume it centered on a “cure” for the common cold — a health claim we can’t and wouldn’t repeat today. Back then, there was not the regulatory oversite of such claims as today.
Both advertising regulations and scientific research have evolved over the years. What may have been perfectly acceptable in the case of the flu epidemic in 1936, or when the Florida Department of Citrus produced a pamphlet titled “Keeping Fit in Wartime” in 1942, may not fly today.
Even campaigns we ran as recently as the 1990s with the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and the March of Dimes — commonly known as the Triple Crown — wouldn’t cut it under today’s regulations.
While much of the research from that time is useful, we must be more careful than ever in how we use it to talk to consumers. For example, we can no longer imply OJ alone fights cancer or that drinking more equals better results, as we played up in one 1990s advertisement.
Today’s Marketing Relies on Science
Today, in order to meet federal guidelines and to support the increasing demands for transparency from our consumers, our marketing must focus on research that isn’t relegated to just the fine print.
We often spotlight new nutrition research, such as studies highlighting hesperidin — a highly concentrated flavonoid found in citrus but rarely found in other foods. Hesperidin has been shown to play a role in cardiovascular health and cognition.
But even historical research, such as those studies on vitamin C, has a place, especially when it comes to helping families make it through yet another cold and flu season.
Our global marketing team and scientific research department work together every day to ensure consumers receive this information in a way that both educates them on the role Florida citrus can play in a healthy diet and complies with federal regulations and guidelines.