Saturday, December 5, 2009

Reinventing the wheel ... and making it sexier!

It's a challenge for any brand to take on a new icon ... it can be even harder to reinvent an old beloved one. Sun-Maid Raisins has looked to modernize it's nearly 100 year old image with a new 3D version of the Sun-Maid Raisin Girl developed by Synthespian Studios. It's a move welcomed by the growers and corporate marketing team ... but not unexpectedly seen it's share of criticism. Recently a short and fairly positive blog article in conservative DC journal Weekly Standard called her "hot" and compared her to Julia Roberts. (My personal viewpoint leans towards Anne Hathaway). Before you could say "busty", Jezebel, PopCrunch, and even Yahoo Finance jumped in with considerably more than 2 cents worth. Fresno's KSEE TV added some regional viewpoint ... and the viral machine just keeps spinning. The YouTube video has received over 60,000 views in a week and hundreds of comments and emails coming in.

I believe the age old Ad Age adage (;-)) ... goes "any Press is good Press", but is it? Oh yes, definitely ... at least in this case. A peruse of blags and comments shows the tone as overall positive, with some bemusement as to why this is even an issue at all.  Discounting some typical venom around sex in advertising, America body image fixation, her body being too ample (or not ample enough), her moral outlook, orientation, etc ... the reality is that the Sun-Maid girl is a hot online news topic nearly 3 years after she was "developed". Not bad for a 90 year old babe ... and it offers Sun-Maid a way to rejuvenate and connect with the younger health minded consumers who will be their future. Look out Megan Fox ... without losing sight of their brand tradition, having "Lorraine" getting into shape and eating earth-friendly foods works well as a message. Better than those old school singing raisins that sold more toys than dried fruit.

Personally, I think most of the negative comments are just a secret disruptive plot by the military/industrial potato chip conglomerate. Looking forward to further adventures ... rumors of yoga, soccer, dancing and other healthy pursuits are bubbling. Hey, how did you think she kept that fine shape ... picking grapes?