Battle of the orange as Coke launches rival to Tropicana

HOUSTON: Coca-Cola's Minute Maid Foods has hired Vorhaus & Company

to handle PR for Simply Orange, a new not-from-concentrate product

developed to compete with Pepsi's Tropicana.



PR spending will fall between dollars 1 million and dollars 2 million

the first year, with a total marketing budget in the dollars 20 million

to dollars 50 million range.



Minute Maid works with Ogilvy PR for health communications. But since

the product will be marketed under a new company name - the Simply

Orange Juice Company - to help it stand apart from other Minute Maid

juices, a new approach was needed. 'In this case, we were looking for

someone who could understand the small-company concept,' said Ray

Crockett, director of communications. Vorhaus was picked from three

agencies.



Julie Schumacher Ciardiello, a Vorhaus SVP and general manager, said the

product has already been covered by The Wall Street Journal, The New

York Times and more than 100 broadcast outlets. Her next PR target is

publications for the supermarket and beverage-retailer trades. That will

be followed by consumer-directed launch PR this summer.



Minute Maid faces an uphill battle against leading orange juice brand

Tropicana, said Tom Pirko, an industry analyst with BevMark in Santa

Barbara, CA. 'Minute Maid will have to spend more than the leader to

convince consumers what they've got is the thing.'



Coke has a history of big spending for rollouts, only to cut back if

sales don't immediately take off, noted Joan Holleran, editor of

Beverage Industry magazine: 'If you look at Coca Cola's history, they

put in buckets of money up front but then they let it die.'



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