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How advertising invented orange juice.

Written by Cole Schafer

In the early 1900s, asking someone if they wanted a cold glass of orange juice along with their plate of greasy eggs and bacon would have been as strange as asking someone if they wanted a tablespoon of mustard in their coffee.

Why? Because orange juice had yet to be invented.

“Drinking” oranges was an idea thought up by a sharp adman named Albert Lasker.

One day, Lasker caught wind that the California Fruit Growers Exchange was chopping down orange trees left and right because Americans simply weren’t eating enough oranges.

So, he did some thinking…

Orange juice.

After Lasker changed the company’s name to the much more enticing “Sunkist”, he began brainstorming ways to increase orange consumption.

Being that most folks didn’t eat more than one orange a day, Lasker had to come up with another way to get more oranges in American bellies.

He did some tinkering and realized that the average glass of orange juice required 2-3 oranges.

So, he and his firm went about designing and manufacturing an orange juice extractor and sold it for ten cents along with a great big bundle of oranges.

And, with it, a campaign was born

Drink an Orange.

drink an orange.jpeg

The Drink an Orange campaign was wildly successful for a number of reasons.

For one, it invented an entirely new category that previously did not exist: Orange Juice.

For two, it created a new habit (and we know how hard it is to break habits)… drinking orange juice each morning with breakfast.

And, lastly, it was one of the juiciest examples of adding a spin to an “old” product to send sales soaring.

While not nearly as thirst-quenching, Listerine did this for ages, marketing their electric blue liquid as a fix-all for everything from Athlete’s Foot to Gonorrhea… before finally settling on a cure to bad breath.

If you look hard enough, there is always (always) another way customers can use your product and if you’re smart like Lasker… for a very small investment, you can increase sales by as much as 400%.

By Cole Schafer.