Freebies are always appreciated, but even more so in a downturn. That’s why PepsiCo rolled out its Juicy Rewards program for Tropicana last week, a move the company characterizes as the largest marketing investment for its orange juice brand. The program offers incentives through a points-based system for every purchase of qualifying Tropicana juice. Rewards include Adidas shoes, TaylorMade golf balls and a trip to the local zoo, said Tropicana chief marketing officer Andy Horrow. In an interview with Brandweek, Harrow, the former global marketing officer for PepsiCo International, discussed how Tropicana hopes to shake up the OJ category with the new rewards program. Excerpts are below.
Brandweek: What are you looking to accomplish with Juicy Rewards?
Andy Horrow: The campaign is a really big marketing platform for Tropicana. Juicy Rewards is a first of its kind opportunity to give consumers something more from their orange juice. We’re not only giving people the best opportunity to get the best-tasting and highest-quality orange juice, but 20,000 different ways they can get more value from their orange juice via healthy rewards. [Prizes, awarded on a points-based system, include “markdowns on Adidas golf shoe, snorkeling, karate [and] gymnastics classes”]. It’s an opportunity for us to really engage with our consumer and get them excited about Tropicana.
BW: Are you utilizing social media to get the word out, as was the case with PepsiCo’s launch of Trop50 (Tropicana’s low-calorie, low-sugar line)?
AH: Social [media] marketing plays a huge role in this campaign. It’s a big piece of our communication. Our priorities [in this space] are large because that is where consumers are living these days. It’s a great opportunity for us to deliver the right message in the right place at the right moment of receptivity.
[Until the campaign’s formal launch today,] we’ve done no pushes for this program other than reaching out to bloggers [such as those on online female blogging communities like BlogHer]… What we’re finding in just three days is that with no marketing push at all—besides Juicy Rewards showing up on packages—we already have 10,000 consumers who have registered [to redeem rewards], which is unbelievable since [the campaign starts today].
BW: Talk about some of the creative executions.
AH: The campaign itself is really about giving people the idea that there is a great breadth of rewards. With the TV ads, the essence is really that people are keeping their Tropicana under lock and key. The Tropicana juice card suddenly becomes really valuable and the campaign is a fun play on that. With the print and digital executions, you’ll see juice cartons changing into things like an [origami elephant, representing a trip to the zoo] or a Norwegian Cruise ship, all prizes given away in the program.
BW: Brands roll out rewards programs all the time. What makes this one different?
AH: It’s not like other programs, where you have to collect and collect and throw a bunch of caps in your drawer. All you have to do is twist the cap off, type the code right onto the Web site, and you can register and redeem prizes instantly. It’s the simplicity and immediacy of being able to redeem these rewards.
BW: Juicy Rewards, at its core, is an incentive-based marketing program. But how penny-pinched are consumers when it comes to buying OJ?
AH: I don’t know that it’s about getting people to buy more orange juice. It’s about giving people more value for the OJ they are buying. We’re already America’s favorite orange juice. We have been and always will be. It’s about giving consumers more value and that is what they want right now. We did a survey that helped inspire the development of this program, and 98 percent of participants said they wanted more value from the products and services that they buy. They expected more from us, and [programs like Juicy Rewards] are one of the ways that Tropicana will continue to go to market in the future. It’s not just about talking with consumers. It’s about engaging with them and building a relationship with them, which is important for any marketer.
BW: Speaking of OJ, marketers usually play it safe in a recession, so we were surprised when Tropicana introduced its new packaging. (PepsiCo subsequently reverted to the original design a month later.) What led to that?
AH: It’s a distant memory for us. Honestly, when it was developed, we wanted consumers to reappraise the benefits of orange juice and we thought we had to do something disruptive to make that happen. In the end, we learned a lot from it. The No. 1 thing we learned was that we underestimated the consumer passion that people had for Tropicana. We listened to our consumers and the lessons on that was we learned to be true to consumer feedback and that will always guide the direction of our brand going forward.
BW: How much are you spending on this campaign for Tropicana?
AH: We’re taking a big bet on this. We think it’s the right way for us to go going forward and we’re putting a lot of marketing muscle behind it. We’re being very bold about it and very proud of what this program will stand for. That’s the view going forward. This is the biggest marketing campaign that this brand, I daresay, has ever had—certainly in recent memory—and I don’t like to think of it as a marketing campaign, but as a platform that supports everything we’re doing. It’s a great way for us to get our customers engaged and our retailers excited.
BW: And how is Trop50 doing? Are you seeing consumer demand for it pick up?
AH: We consider Trop50 to be an unbelievable success. [The product reached $100 million in dollar shipments last week, per Tropicana. According to figures from Beverage Digest, however, Coca-Cola led the juice category for the first 10 months of 2009. Coca-Cola’s volume share rose 1.1 points to 23.3, while PepsiCo’s share decreased 2.7 points to 21.8.] It’s got unprecedented trial rates (7.3 percent) for a new item launched in the chilled juice category, 59 percent among lapsed/reduced OJ users, and 35 percent in the general population. Tropicana continues to grow in distribution and interest from retailers so much that we’ve got two line extensions for Trop50: pomegranate blueberry and pineapple mango. That marketing platform has been incredibly successful in driving this business.