Ocean Spray: Our Drinks Rock ‘Round the Clock

Seeking to stand out in a category where ads traditionally feature family scenarios, Ocean Spray puts a youthful twist on its advertising in new work from Arnold that positions the brand as a choice for any time of day.

The work breaks today from the Boston-based Havas shop. It is the first phase of an effort intended to showcase and unify all of the juice maker’s products, including a line of tea-infused juices rolling out next month, under a theme emphasizing lifestyle as much as refreshment, said Stu Gallagher, chief marketing officer at the Lakeville-Middleboro, Mass., client.

“We’re trying to break away from traditional juice imagery and positioning,” Gallagher said.

A 30-second spot features twentysomethings frolicking at the beach, at home and at nightclubs to a rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack. At one point, the words “Tartly refreshing. Refreshingly tart” flash on the screen, which is filled with bright-red cranberries. The spot retains the tagline “Crave the wave,” introduced in the early 1990s.

Previous advertising targeted mothers, who continue to make up Ocean Spray’s core audience of women ages 35-50, Gallagher said. The client’s most recent TV work included a spot that showed a mother with her son, who spills white cranberry juice as he sits on the floor—an effort to tout the nearly clear beverage’s no-mess quality.

“The people [in the new spot] are younger than we’ve had historically in our advertising,” Gallagher said. “We’re trying to portray young-at-heart people. Hopefully that transcends age demographics.”

Gallagher noted that Ocean Spray needed a unified identity for its new products, which include ruby red grapefruit juice and light juices, because “it got to the point where it was like a house that was added on to too many times.”

The company—which had more than $1 billion in sales in 2002, according to Hoover’s Online (an increase of 3.2 percent from 2001)—kicks off the campaign with its best-known products: cranberry-juice-based cocktails, a category it dominates. Competitors include Pepsico’s Tropicana, Welch Foods, Cadbury’s Mott’s and Northland Cranberries.

“[Execution-wise, the new spot] says little, but it speaks volumes,” said Pam Hamlin, managing partner, director of account management at Arnold. “[The spot] contemporizes the brand and gives you the feeling that this is a product that goes beyond a meal, and it celebrates the unique taste of Ocean Spray.”

The spot will air on cable networks such as E! Entertainment, Discovery Health and A&E. It will be followed by individual executions for other existing and new products.

Spending was not disclosed. Ocean Spray last year spent $25 million on advertising, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

“Traditionally, [Ocean Spray] has been a grocery-store brand, appealing to the woman of the household,” said Andrea Foote, editor-in-chief of Beverage World in New York. “[The new spot] is a push for them toward [competing] for single-serve sales, which is a high-profit category.”