Brand expert warns Sunny D over parent consultancy

The makers of Sunny D are being warned by branding experts that recruiting parents to advise on future brand development is “nothing but symbolism” if the move is not backed up with further consumer research.

The Sunny Delight Beverages Company (SDBC), brand owner since Procter & Gamble sold the brand last year, is recruiting 12 parents from around the UK to consult on product development, marketing and advertising (MW September 22).

Bob James, a brand development consultant whose clients have included Unilever, British Airways and Cadbury, has criticised the move. He says: “Inviting consumers into your company can be effective as part of a total refocusing of the business, but if it isn’t done alongside a whole host of other research then it’s nothing but symbolism.

“SDBC must examine its internal business model as well as the external brand. If it is merely looking for good PR and a quick result, it deserves to be smacked by consumers and the press.”

Rob Spencer, marketing director for Gerber Foods, SDBC’s UK partner, says: “Whatever we do will be meaningful. We did not set the parents advisory group up to attract publicity.”

Sunny D is worth &£50m – a quarter of its value following a successful launch in 1998.

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