Web Site Launches Drink

Minute Maid, the Houston-based juice beverages division of The Coca-Cola Co., has opted for a more streamlined approach to marketing its newest product online. Minute Maid kicks off the first part of its integrated marketing campaign with a Web site for its new not-from-concentrate product line, called Simply Orange.

Found at simplyorangejuice.com, Simply Orange’s site offers screensavers, tell-a-friend e-mail and info about Simply Orange’s various products — minus games or extensive copy.

“It’s very lean,” said Kathy Sharpe, founder and partner of Sharpe Partners, the New York-based i-shop that created the site. “I think Minute Maid was smart to keep it very focused. Games can be useful for certain brands, but in this case, we’re really focused on getting a better understanding of our consumer and not wasting their time. And we’re not sure that they’d go to Minute Maid to play games.”

Instead, she said, “we concentrated on what the Web does best. The Web site is very focused on helping consumers to give us a little bit of information.” Also, she said, “the site is very much on brand and respects the brand.”

Founded nearly two years ago in New York, Sharpe Partners was selected by Minute Maid to be part of an integrated team — including Doner, a Detroit-based ad agency; Starcom Worldwide, a Chicago-based media agency; and Vorhaus & Company, a New York-based public relations firm — to introduce Simply Orange as it rolls out first this month in the Northeast.

Bobby Patton, marketing manager for Simply Orange, wouldn’t divulge the campaign’s costs. “It’s a regional launch,” he said, “so we’re not in the tens of millions of dollars, I can tell you that.” He did say, however, that simplyorangejuice.com will figure prominently in the early stages of the integrated campaign, which will include a flight of TV ads this summer. For example, he said, the site’s URL will be included on every type of point-of-sale marketing.

“The beauty of a Web site communication is that you can bring that on immediately and get two things,” said Patton. “One, you can start creating some awareness of your business and two, for people who go out and try your product, you can help them become repeaters and more … loyal consumers by providing them more information.”

Simply put, said Patton, simplyorange juice.com “incorporates a lot of learning that we’ve seen recently on packaged goods Web sites.”

That learning includes a study released last week by Information Resources Inc., a Chicago-based research group, which found, for example, that while 38 percent of manufacturers’ Web sites offer games and activities, only 12 percent of online consumers said they want such features. Meanwhile, half of all consumers surveyed said they want free samples, coupons or special offers from the brand sites they visit, but only about 20 percent of manufacturers actually offer such promotions online.

Simplyorangejuice.com is expected to be up for the life of the brand, and Sharpe anticipates that her 15-employee i-shop will be called in to update and enrich it. “As we get a better understanding of why consumers come there and what they’re looking for, we’ll change it accordingly,” she said.