Chiquita Brand Goes Beyond Bananas


Six months ago we looked at an interesting campaign by Chiquita to crowdsource the designs of its iconic banana stickers. Aiming to add a little refresh to the brand in heavy competition in the produce section, we cautioned against going overboard and losing the brand’s distinct color combo. In the end, Chiquita’s selection of winners stuck with its brand identity.

Now Chiquita is making another bold move, securing Nancy Bailey & Associates to license its brand into both non-food and new food categories.[more]

Chiquita’s official release on the brand licensing plans:

“Under the agreement, Nancy Bailey & Associates will help Chiquita extend its flavor profile and value-added ingredients, as well as its iconic logo, the Miss Chiquita brand character, and its vintage artwork into multiple product categories. Fresh Express will also extend its brand in both food and non-food categories.
Nancy Bailey & Associates will target food, drug and mass retailers, to distribute a wide range of Chiquita and Fresh Express branded products for launch in 2012.
The deal includes both the Chiquita and Fresh Direct brands.” 

Often when people think of brand licensing they thing of the disasters or the poor fits, such as a Humane Society mobile phone service or Google Print Ads.

But Chiquita has a great core product that everyone recognizes, one that offers prime material for extensions into, at minimum, the health and wellness categories. Is it a stretch to imagine bananas in place of the current raving over the health benefits of coconut products?

Of late, Chiquita creativity has actually done wonders on both high- and low-profile projects promoting brand championship for a product that on the surface seems so one-dimensional. In December, Chiquita CEO Fernando Aguirre appeared on the hit show Undercover Boss.

The brand turned that experience into a PR win when the CEO attended the naturalization ceremony of the Mexican immigrant who had trained him on the show. Also in December, Chiquita promoted the story of two banana sticker-loving newlyweds and their “bananas” wedding.

Brand extensions or PR, Chiquita needs all the help it can get (or generate). Recent reports note a fourth-quarter loss for the brand of $20 million, owing to a weak European market and bad US weather. It’s just another punch in the gut for a brand that saw net earnings plummet 37% in 2010.

So what should it be? Chiquita brand vitamin supplements? Chiquita choclate banana pops? Pool toys!?

One thing’s for sure: it will be steering away from reinventing the banana skin.