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Perky 'Trudy' Drives True Lemon Push

Roth Partners breaks first work for brand

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A perky, energetic character named “Trudy” is central to Roth Partners’ first work for True Lemon, a natural lemon flavoring for water that’s looking to steal share from bigger players like Crystal Light.

Dressed in a bright yellow T-shirt and matching eyeglass frames, Trudy will appear in two TV ads and a series of videos that will live online. In the ads, she pops into scenes like Jeannie from “I Dream of Jeannie” and pitches True Lemon to women as effervescently as “Flo” touts Progressive to insurance buyers.

The campaign, which breaks Monday, also includes social media efforts, contests and events. The total budget for the effort—an estimated $4-5 million—is modest compared to bigger competitors, but it represents the largest marketing push for the brand to date.

“I don’t have to be as big as Crystal Light,” said Al Soricelli, CEO of True Citrus Co., parent company of True Lemon. “When I started here [in June 2010], we had about 2 percent household penetration. We’re hoping to get up to about 6. That would be phenomenal.”

One TV ad is set in a yoga studio and another in an office. In each setting, True encounters a thirtyish woman who represents the consumer that the brand seeks to reach.

“Truth out,” Trudy says in the yoga ad, using her hands to form the signal for time out. In seconds, she replaces the exerciser’s flavored water with a bottle infused with True Lemon.

“Real flavor from real fruit,” Trudy explains. “One hundred percent natural ingredients. Just five calories.” She stays long enough for the woman to drink the True Lemon water, but disappears before she can say, “Umm. That’s good.”

The TV ads will run through August during female-skewing programs on cable networks such as TBS, Bravo, A&E, HGTV, Food Network, Lifetime and Oxygen.

The Web videos were shot in New York’s Central Park and depict a reporter character interviewing passers-by that Trudy hands the product to. Trudy also sings a song.

“She lights up whoever she’s with,” said Rick Roth, CEO of Roth Partners.

The brand’s core target are active, health conscious women between 30 and 32, but they can be as young as 25 or as old as 54, according to Roth.

Roth Partners landed the creative account in December after a review. That win and assignments from The Reader’s Digest Association spurred the New York shop to add a managing partner in March. 

True Citrus Co. is backed by private equity and based in Baltimore. Its product also comes in the form of an ingredient for baking or cooking.