Gruden, Florida Citrus vs. Brazilian O.J.

ATLANTA The Florida Citrus Growers said it has signed Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden as spokesperson.

Public relations firm Golin/Harris in Chicago will provide communications support for the partnership. The Richards Group in Dallas handles advertising.

The five year contract will pay $4.2 million to the 2003 Super Bowl champions, with Gruden receiving an undisclosed portion.

As spokesperson, Gruden will focus on building statewide awareness of the ways in which citrus contributes to the state’s social and economic welfare. The Florida Department of Citrusin Lakeland, Fla. ,also hopes the campaign will help preserve a federal tariff on orange juice imports from Brazil.

The citrus industry generates a $9 billion annual impact on Florida’s economy and employs 90,000 people, according to DOC executive director Bob Crawford. Tax revenue from the agricultural crop totals nearly $1 billion, he said.

A campaign, tagged “Citrus Matters,” will include public relations and in-stadium advertising that will appear on Buccaneers scoreboards as well as concession and ramp signage.