Monday, August 13, 2012

From Fruit to Brand – the Cuties Story

It all started with Berne Evans, a former stockbroker. He had already experience with growing tomatoes, kiwis and oranges in California.

When the frost period in 1990 destroyed the orange harvest in California, he found out that supermarkets at the East Coast were desperately looking for mandarin oranges. He saw a huge business opportunity and asked his son to find mandarins that could withstand climate changes.

The identified the Citrus Reticulata Blanco as the perfect candidate. Small, seedless and easy to peel, the mandarin was the perfect candidate. Father and son Evans wanted to build a strong brand. They struck a deal with the Resnick family that built its fortune with Pom fruit juices.

According to the agreement, the Resnicks would take care of marketing and the Evans family would concentrate on production and distribution. Both would be the owners of the brand “Cuties”.
Cuties conquered the US since they were so child-friendly. Children just love Cuties, to the delight of their parents. The demand is not any more for mandarins (or tangerines), but for Cuties. The brand name has evolved to a sort name, similar to aspirin and hoover.

Recent sales accumulated to 75 million carton boxes, which is three times as much as 7 years ago! Strong marketing played for sure a major part, including five different short spots. One of them is 'Know why Cuties are small? Because kids have small hands.'  Another one: 'Know why Cuties are seedless? Because kids hate seeds.'

Cuties are currently dominating the US market, despite some ankle biters.

The technical bee issue seems also to be solved. To avoid bees bringing pollen from mandarins with seeds, a new variety was developed by a Californian University that does the trick. 
But is it not all wonderful. Evans balks at the marketing expenses and the Resnicks are annoyed that Evans started to launch a new brand 'Baby Cuties'.

No matter, Cuties wrote marketing history!

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