Richards Creates Fresh ‘Fruit’

The Richards Group has brought back the “Fruit Guys” in an estimated $15-20 million campaign for Fruit of the Loom.

Four 30-second TV spots break today on national network, cable and syndicated programming. The leaf, apple and two grape characters first appeared in the 1970s, when the account of the Bowling Green, Ky.-based client was handled by Grey.

The campaign is the second created by the Dallas agency, which won the account in October 2000.

Founder and principal Stan Richards said the Fruit Guys have “tremendous equity.”

“They are among the best recognized icons in the history of advertising,” he said, “and it would be awfully hard to pass up that opportunity.”

The spots target women, who generally purchase underwear for the family. In one ad, the spokes-characters acknowledge their demotion to a “ceremonial” role as beautiful models stroll by in the brand’s undergarments. In another, hip-hop music accompanies them as they swagger into a room preparing to box. When they arrive, they realize it is not a boxing match, but rather a photo shoot for boxers.

The client spent nearly $15 million on advertising last year, per CMR.

Fruit of the Loom , a subsidiary of Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire Hathaway, also sells casual wear. The company most closely competes with Hanes, a brand owned by Sara Lee Branded Apparel of Winston-Salem, N.C.