A New Marketing Strategy for the Florida Citrus Industry

In the mid-eighties the dairy industry tried to convince us that milk was good for you. Some of you may remember the “milk does a body good” television campaign proclaiming the health benefits along with the belief that milk could build strong bones.
Apple founder Steve Jobs said it best:

“Marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world. It’s a very noisy world. And we are not going to get people to remember much about us. No company is. And we have to be very clear on what we want them to know about us…the dairy industry tried for about 20 years to convince you that milk was good for you…and the sales were falling and then they tried “Got Milk” and the sales went up. “Got Milk” didn’t even talkiabout the product. In fact, it focuses on the absence of the product.”

The “Got Milk” campaign boosted sales 7% in one year and like most popular advertising campaigns generated  countless spin-off parodies to this day.
The vast majority of citrus grown in Florida is used in the production of juice. Citrus greening disease has decreased annual production levels by 60 percent from its highs in the eighties according to some estimates. Economic theory tells us that demand should increase as supply decreases. Yet both the supply and demand for orange juice has declined over recent years.
When was the last time you saw an ad for Florida citrus? Can you recall the message? Part of the problem is that people can’t remember the message. The advertising budget for the milk advertising campaigns averaged about $50 million dollars annually over a twenty year period – nearly double to the 2016-2017 citrus marketing budget. In order to break through the clutter Florida citrus marketers have a couple of options. One, expand the marketing budget to buy more broadcast buys over the entire calendar year – not just during harvest season. Two, maximize the citrus advertising dollars by leveraging the power of social media to tell the Florida citrus story. One recent study suggests marketers could generate three times the results at current budget levels.
What can Florida citrus industry learn here? The “Got Milk” ads didn’t target people that were drinking milk-rather they focused on getting current consumers to buy more. The lesson here for agri-marketers? Many young people prefer to slug down a can of Red Bull energy drink for breakfast. So rather than focusing precious marketing resources on convincing millennials and international audiences to change their behaviors and drink orange juice – the “Got Milk” campaign demonstrates the power of turning your current consumers into evangelists and let them tell the story on why consumers should buy orange juice more often.  

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