Friday, July 17, 2015

Enter: The Orange Avenger!


OR: "Pulp Fiction!"


In 2011, the Florida citrus industry created "Captain Citrus" to spread the nutritional message of orange juice in Florida classrooms. As you can see, the Captain's hefty girth sent a rather mixed message to kids about the health benefits of good nutrition:



Granted, there's not much you can do about a waistline when you're the shape of an orange. But last September, the Florida Department of Citrus entered into a $1 million contract with Marvel Comics to create a new character that would not only stimulate interest in orange juice but also direct more attention to its rep as a healthy and wholesome drink. And as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Meet the revamped fighting hero of the groves:



At the time, the citrus industry could have used all the help Captain Citrus could bring its way. According to August 2014 figures, U.S. orange juice sales fell to their lowest level on record--not helped by reports in the news that sugar content in orange juice was contributing to America's obesity problem. Add to that the ongoing problem of citrus greening disease, a bacterial pathogen which was hitting citrus groves hard.

The new launch also partnered Captain Citrus with the Avengers in a three-issue series of comic books that would be distributed free to one million children in schools across the country:




When the Leader threatens to destroy the Florida orange groves--watch out!




The good captain also inundated YouTube, coinciding with the push to reach younger consumers. For instance, there was the joint introductory presentation featuring Bill Rosemann, Creative Director of Marvel Custom Solutions, and Doug Ackerman, Executive Director of the Florida Dept. of Citrus (who also teamed up for an appearance at the 2014 New York Comic Con):




The FDOC also did their own brief plug:



As well as a home-grown BTS vid of citrus grower Christian Spinosa, the voice behind Captain Citrus (or, as he would put it, "Cap'n Citrus"):



Plus Captain Citrus sweepstakes. Pages on Facebook, Twitter, and who knows where else. A broad sweep of news articles in television, print, and online outlets. As for the "Amazing 5" that the captain touts in his appearances, it's super-hero shorthand for a breakdown of the health benefits of drinking orange juice:



The last issue of the comic appeared in May of this year--so Captain Citrus seems to have made his stand, and time will tell if he's indeed made a difference in boosting the appeal of orange juice. But he lives on at his Florida citrus website, and you can enjoy all three issues of the digital comics along with your pulp-filled glass of freshly-squeezed O.J.

3 comments:

Colin Jones said...

Gosh, I love orange juice and I wouldn't need any persuading to drink it. On British TV in the '70s there was a super-hero character called The Green Cross Man who taught children how to cross the road safely - he appeared regularly in adverts showing us how to stop, look, listen etc. The Green Cross Man was played by David Prowse who was also Darth Vader in Star Wars.

Anonymous said...

After this, the Leader is never going to be able to show his face in super-villain circles again.
m.p.

The Prowler said...

Interestingly enough, a day without Cap'n Citrus is like a day without sunshine......

(Come along with me,
To my little corner of the world,
And dream a little dream,
In my little corner of the world).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...