By Jordan Valinsky, CNN
New York (CNN) — Artificial intelligence is going to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show. But there’s one company that doesn’t want it anywhere near its brand.
Tropicana, the top-selling orange juice maker, is releasing limited-edition bottles that removes the letters “A” and “I” from its name (“Tropcn”) to bring attention to its natural ingredients.
The cheeky marketing stunt is aimed at highlighting the “fact that there is nothing artificial, and never has been anything artificial” in the brand’s orange juice, according to a press release.
Naturally, Tropicana found an appropriate place to hand out the bottles with its “new” name: CES in Las Vegas, where it’s stationing a truck this week at the event to give away the juice. It’s also hiding 100 of the bottles across the US at grocery stores owned by Kroger, including the flagship brand and others like Fry’s and Fred Meyer.
Tropicana often comes up with creative ways to promote the 77-year-old brand, especially as consumer tastes frequently change. Consumers are increasingly looking for beverages lower in sugar and calories compared to orange juice.
Some consumers have turned against regular fruit juices. Traditional fruit juice, once thought of as healthy, has been recast as a source of empty calories and sugar. Today, fresh-pressed green juices, enhanced water and protein-packed beverages have inherited that health halo.
“Tropicana remains a big brand in juice, but it has been losing market share over time — both to private label products and to niche brands which are seen as being more natural,” said Neil Saunders, retail analyst and managing director at GlobalData Retail.
He told CNN that Tropicana’s latest marketing effort “could be seen as an attempt to underline the natural nature of its products, trying to gel with the consumer desire for products free of artificial ingredients.”
In 2021, PepsiCo sold a controlling stake in Tropicana to a private equity firm in $3.3 billion deal as the company further emphasized its focus on lower-calorie drinks, like sodas and waters.
PepsiCo’s juice business, which also included Naked, had been a drag on its bottom line. Sales of orange juice have been been declining steadily over the past decade, despite a slight increase in sales last year because of the pandemic.
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