Ackerman: Keeping OJ relevant requires a change in strategy

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Amid concerns of citrus greening and changing consumer behaviors, keeping 100% Florida Orange Juice relevant required a change in strategy.

“We asked ourselves, ‘What makes your product different than everyone else’s?’” said Florida Department of Citrus Executive Director Doug Ackerman, speaking to an audience at the International Citrus Beverage Conference in Clearwater, Fla. Thursday morning.

The answer: “There’s Amazing Inside.”

The FDOC developed the new “Amazing Inside” campaign, which debuted in June, to highlight the nutritional benefits and great taste of Florida Orange Juice. The campaign included an overhaul of the Florida Citrus brand, keeping the sunshine tree but giving it a modern touch.

“We wanted to take that symbol and rejuvenate it for the next generation of loyal consumers,” Ackerman said. From there, the FDOC consolidated the brand across all Florida Citrus products to create a cohesive look and feel missing from more recent campaigns.

In retail, the FDOC began looking at new ways to position Florida Orange Juice to consumers, from marinades to cocktails. And some unexpected brands want in on the action, Ackerman said.

“Everyone talks about how OJ is down, but it’s still the number one juice,” Ackerman said. “People want to partner with us.”

Another new way to reach consumers: a Marvel redesign of Captain Citrus.

From rotund talking Orange to a muscular and mysteriously-powered super hero, Captain Citrus is now no longer a Florida-only asset. Schools across the country will receive a copy of the first Captain Citrus comic and an educational teacher’s guide to help spread messages of nutrition and the importance of making smart choices.

“We took the people who make superheroes for a living, and we capitalized on their expertise,” Ackerman said.

The FDOC is also promoting the brand’s partnership with Florida Citrus ambassador, Dancing With the Stars co-host and FOX Sports broadcaster Erin Andrews, who has been a perfect fit for the brand, Ackerman said.

The ICBC continues through Sept. 19 and features speakers from around the globe on topics such as citrus greening, food safety, juice nutrition and food marketing.