Sunny D backs relaunch of brand with PR drive

LONDON - The owner of soft drink Sunny D has called in PR support ahead of a UK repositioning of the brand, whose reputation remains tarnished after several years of negative media reports about the drink's contents.

US-based private equity group JW Childs, which acquired the brand from Procter & Gamble last August, has appointed Publicis Consultants to run a four-month "consultation process" with mothers, nutritionists and the media, which the agency says could trigger changes in Sunny D's ingredients, name, and packaging.

Sunny D commercial manager Paul Nicholls admitted the brand was "a shadow of its former self", pointing out that UK sales at their height in 1999 were worth some £170m, compared with £50m last year.

Having been one of the marketing success stories of the 1990s, negative coverage of its ingredients, and of a child whose skin turned orange from drinking excessive quantities, plunged the drink's sales into freefall at the end of the decade.

Nicholls said Publicis had done well to help arrest its slide with the 2003 "real world nutrition" campaign, and that it now wanted to recapture its former success.

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