How to Revitalize a Brand? Try Making it a Superhero

Posted on: September 22nd, 2014 by Wendy Alpine

Superman, Ironman, Captain America, and...Captain Citrus? Watch for This New Superhero! by Wendy AlpineTo combat slumping orange juice sales, the Florida Department of Citrus has developed a new PR campaign — reinventing the portly Captain Citrus into a strapping Marvel Comics superhero.

Apparently, juice sales are down 22% because of a disease called citrus greening, but also because people are drinking less of it. With all the choices these days and studies showing that fruit juice may contribute to obesity, the Florida Citrus Department needed to find another way to attract its target market: kids and moms.

Enter Captain Citrus.

The problem was that the old Captain Citrus was a round, clip art-ish orange man that lacked power in his punch. Today, he’s getting a makeover as a male superhero that will be featured with the likes of Captain America. What’s interesting is that the citrus agency had been spending millions of dollars on TV ads to promote orange juice (remember Anita Bryant?). But with the popularity of everything Marvel — and digital — it’s ending its TV advertising and instead signed a $1 million deal with Disney for Captain Citrus to appear in printed comic books and digital sequels.

“(With) the evolving media habits of consumers, combined with (the Florida Department of Citrus’) declining revenues and unpredictable funding levels, it no longer made sense for us to lock up such a huge percentage of our budget in television buys,” Department spokesman David Steele said in an interview with the Jacksonville-based News Service of Florida.

Another example of the ongoing “a thousand cuts” to TV (and print) advertising.

With this switch, it’s supposed to free up $13 million in branding and marketing. Just think what PR could do with just a fraction of those dollars:

  • Take Captain Citrus on a media tour with women’s and parenting magazines.

  • Have Captain Citrus appear in Times Square (no punching officers, please, and remember to get a permit).

  • Let Captain Citrus star in a webisode with the Wiggles.

  • Do an interview with Zach Galifianakis on his comical show, Between Two Ferns (watch the interview with President Obama).

  • Not to mention Buzzfeed (11 Things You Didn’t Know About Captain Citrus) and Yahoo.

The ideas are endless. It reminds me of a campaign I directed for the margarine industry a few years ago. While we didn’t have a margarine mascot, we created “Open the Door to a Healthy Heart” and went into local celebrities’ homes to throw out the butter and replace it with margarine. We used a cardiologist to talk about simple substitutions. It was creative and resulted in millions of media placements.

I hope we see more of Captain Citrus in the media. It just goes to show that sometimes, you have to think outside the box, er, orange, to get your creative juices flowing.
Wendy Alpine of
Wendy Alpine
Phone: 404-641-6170
Fax: 404-806-5316

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