Ocean Spray, Connelly Blaze New Trail for Craisins

NEW YORK Ocean Spray Cranberries launched its Craisins line of sweetened dried cranberries in 1993, and it became the top seller in the segment despite languishing on marketing’s backburner.

But the client wants to show consumers that in addition to its well-known beverage products it also is a premier maker of healthy snacks. In the fall it will break the first national TV and print effort behind Craisins with an estimated $15 million in dedicated support.

“We’re known as a juice company,” said Ken Romanzi, svp and COO at Ocean Spray. Romanzi came on board in September and was reunited with Ocean Spray CEO Randy Papadellis, with whom he had worked at Frito-Lay. “Randy brought me here because we share a vision to bring the kind of Frito-Lay mentality to Ocean Spray with regard to in-store merchandising, convenience, taste, co-branding with other marketers, packaging innovations and marketing support,” Romanzi said.

The Craisins effort, via independent Connelly Partners in Boston, will include the brand’s first foray into nuts, dried fruit and chocolate, all contained in two new Craisins Trail Mix varieties shipping this month.

TV and print will tout the product as being healthy, fat-free, convenient and made with real fruit for those “fit-for-life consumers who work hard and play hard,” said Romanzi. He cited company research showing Craisins has an 8 percent household penetration but a 90 percent satisfaction rating, which he said signaled a great growth opportunity.