With Innocent dominating the category, PJ Smoothies has embarked on the biggest campaign spend juice has ever seen

At the beginning of the year, PepsiCo UK relaunched the PJ Smoothies brand it acquired in February 2005 with a £5m marketing package. Highlights of the relaunch include new look packaging, the introduction of additional flavours and what is billed as the biggest advertising spend the category has yet seen.

Available in fruit and fruit & yoghurt/dairy varieties, the new 250ml range features eight flavours, including strawberries & bananas; oranges, mangoes & passion fruit; pineapples, bananas & coconuts; and peaches, bananas & passion fruit.

It also includes four Super Smoothies, such as Daily Detox, Probiotic Berry Boost and Probiotic Yoghurt & Strawberry. A one-litre range has also been introduced.

The relaunch clearly shows PepsiCo's intentions for the brand, which, although posting an impressive sales growth of 27.3% last year [ACNielsen 52 w/e October 1, 2005], was overshadowed by Innocent, which experienced a sales rise of 207% for the same period. Innocent is now worth more than double that of PJ Smoothie's and PepsiCo says that it is addressing this.

One method already unveiled is a TV ad campaign designed to appeal to younger consumers. According to the the company, the 'Want fruit? Drink fruit' slogan will appeal to consumers who want to experience the benefits of fruit while they are on the go.

"Smoothies are seen as more of a luxury," says Cara Beeby, trade marketing manager at PepsiCo. "But PJ Smoothies' funky packaging combined with a more affordable price means it will appeal directly to this type of consumer."

Marketing director Will Ghali claims that the PJ brand will be a significant contributor to growth in smoothies over the coming year.

He believes that smoothies are still associated with London living and continue to be seen as relatively niche products despite the growth in the market. He reckons that PepsiCo's support for PJ Smoothies will make the drink more affordable and accessible to people across the UK.

"We saw an opportunity to add value and to turn the brand around," he says. "We want to democratise smoothies so that everyone can enjoy them."

However, Ghali also admits that success will not come overnight. "It will take some time to see if this relaunch will do the trick in turning the brand around as Innocent continues to dominate."

Read more
Focus on Juices & Smoothies (April 2006)