SPARTA, MI: Old Orchard Brands, a major fruit-juice maker, has hired Straightline Public Relations as its exclusive agency, adding PR to the company's marketing mix for the first time.
The Michigan company, which had sales of $120 million last year, plans to spend $2 million to $3 million on overall marketing efforts this year, as it expands distribution in such areas as North Carolina and California.
"We thought PR would be a cost-effective way to take what we spend on the media side and expand that," said Kevin Miller, sales and marketing coordinator for Old Orchard. The company had worked with a large ad agency, but decided it wanted a smaller, local PR firm, he said.
Straightline seemed to mirror the company's culture, Miller added. "We're not into a lot of fluff," he said. "And they were pretty straight to the point."
Straightline, based in Grand Rapids, MI, has put three people on the account.
"They appeal to moms who are active and educated," said David Roznowski, Straightline VP, of Old Orchard products. "It's something parents can enjoy and give their kids."
Old Orchard ranks third in frozen-juice-concentrate sales behind Minute Maid and Welch's, Miller said. It's bottled- juice business ranks among the top six nationally.
"We're definitely one of the fastest growing brands in the US," Miller said. Priced below premium brands, Old Orchard can attract consumers concerned about their spending in a recession and it also can appeal to people trading up from generics, Miller added.
Straightline will handle media relations and new-product publicity, and work on publicizing the company's charitable work, Miller said.