Sunny Delight was launched in the UK in 1998 by Proctor and Gamble (Sunny Delight, 2013). It was initially marketed as a healthy fruit juice and ‘within months’ had become the country’s biggest selling soft drink, third only to Coke and Pepsi, breaching sales of £160 million a year (Clayton, 2003).
The marketing of Sunny Delight in the UK was aimed to appeal to both children and their parents. Adverts appealing to children were launched demonstrating the attractive quality of Sunny Delight through inclusive friendship groups and fun situations.
Sunny Delight Advertisement UK, 2003
Komputes, 2008. Sunny Delight Commercial (1998). .
Simultaneously the drink was marketed at parents, approached from the health perspective coupled with the idea of being a good parent from providing children with Sunny Delight.
Sunny Delight, print advertisement.
Charlie Powell of Sustain (the alliance for better food and farming) supports this:
“Take Sunny Delight – in the adverts we see the child being supplied the drink by the parent, and the child is then embraced into the peer group. It gives parents the impression that this is the right thing to do.”
(cited in Muspratt, 2004).
To reinforce the healthy association created from the adverts, Sunny Delight was placed in the chilled fridges next to the pure fruit drinks (The Guardian, 2001).
However, it soon became apparent the drink was not as healthy as the marketing suggested, Radio 4 and Watchdog questioned the drink’s qualities (The Guardian, 2001), as it emerged Sunny Delight was a mere 5% orange juice and compromised mainly of sugar, water, vegetable oil, thickeners, vitamins, flavours and colours.
A further blow to the enterprise was a young girl developing a yellow tinge from drinking large quantities of the drink, to be referred to as “Sunny Delight Syndrome” (BBC News, 1999).
The marketing for this campaign can be said to be unethical. The logo, adverts, bottle shape and placement alongside fruit juice disguises the high sugar, low juice content of the drink, aiming to mislead the consumer. Furthermore the manipulation of parents into purchasing the product through providing easy, ‘healthy’ options for busy parents coupled with parental guilt for outcasting their children displays a disregard for marketing morals.
Here the result of the decision of the designers to market Sunny Delight as a health drink led to the mis-leading of parents and ultimately a loss of trust in the company, alongside the health implications of consuming an excess of sugar and betacarotene.
Today Sunny Delight continues to market in their niche of child friendly juice drinks. While the drinks now contain around 20% fruit juice, and boast a lack of artificial additives they still do not seem a viable alternative to fresh juice (Sunny Delight, 2013a).
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BBC News, 1999. Soft drink turned toddler “yellow”. BBC News, [online] 26th December. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/578945.stm [Accessed 8th March 2013].
Clayton, J., 2003. The rise and fall of Sunny Delight. BBC News, [online] 3rd December. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3257820.stm [Accessed 6th March 2013].
Muspratt, C., 2004. Don’t blame us for child obesity, says advertisers. The Telegraph, [online] 23rd August. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/2893289/Dont-blame-us-for-child-obesity-say-advertisers.html [Accessed 1st April 2013].
Sunny Delight, 2013. About Us. [online] Available at: http://www.sunny-d.co.uk/about_us.html [Accessed 1st April 2013].
Sunny Delight, 2013. Products. [online] Available at: http://www.sunny-d.co.uk/products.html [Accessed 1st April 2013].
The Guardian, 2001. The Last Straw. The Guardian, [online] 11th April. Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2001/apr/11/marketingandpr.comment [Accessed 1st April 2013].