MEET Captain Citrus. He’s got green hair, an orange body suit and a pumpkin-hued skin tone that on anyone else would be a fake tan gone very awry.
He’s the latest addition to the Marvel superheroes stable but don’t expect to see him rubbing shoulders with Robert Downey Jr just yet. And he doesn’t fight alien bad guys so much as he fights scurvy. Or falling profits.
Captain Citrus is actually an advertising campaign from the Florida Department of Citrus (FDC) who partnered with Marvel to reverse a decline in orange juice consumption. According to the Wall Street Journal, Americans have increasingly given orange juice the flick with per capita consumption down 45 per cent since the peak in 1998.
Orange juice has come under pressure from concerns about the sugar content and challenges from newer products such as coconut water and energy drinks.
So Captain Citrus, which was previously an anthropomorphic orange juice cartoon with a green cape, was completely revamped by the coolest dudes in the superhero business. The idea was born when the citrus people hooked up with Marvel to talk about product placement opportunities in Marvel’s movies, the FDC spokesman, David Steele, told AdAge.
Mr Steele also said Captain Citrus was conceived to connect with children and their families, ostensibly to persuade the next generation to keep putting orange juice in shopping baskets.
Captain Citrus has appeared in a specially produced comic book along with Marvel’s Avengers characters which was inserted into DVDs of Captain America, and a teaser ad. He also visits kids at school. Cute.
The Captain Citrus concept is more than just a flashy mascot. He’s a combination of so many of those fancy buzzwords the ad industry loves: branded content, content partnership, multiplatform and partner integration.