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Albert Lasker: The Man Who Added Oranges to America's Breakfast

Juice News Deep Dive, Peeling Back History: Sunkist's Game-Changing Marketing Campaign.

Albert Lasker

Albert Lasker (1880–1952) was an influential figure in the fields of advertising and public relations, often referred to as the "father of modern advertising."

His contributions and innovations in the field of advertising revolutionized the industry in the early 20th century.

In this first true deep dive for Juice News, we look into the life and impact of Albert Lasker. Unknown to many, Mr. Lasker's influence through advertising is the reason that nowadays Orange Juice is one of the key ingredients of America's iconic breakfast.

The Sunkist campaign, orchestrated by Albert Lasker and his agency Lord & Thomas, stands as one of the most significant turning points in the history of advertising and consumer behavior. This campaign not only revolutionized the orange industry but also set a new standard for marketing strategies.

In this deep dive:

  1. Biography of Albert Lasker Pre-Sunkist Campaign

  2. Orange and Orange Juice Market Pre-Sunkist

  3. Advertising Landscape Pre-Lasker and His Revolutionary Steps

  4. Lasker's Involvement and Campaign Execution for Sunkist

  5. Post-Campaign Impact on Orange Juice and American Breakfast

  6. Slogans and Campaigns of Sunkist and Other Brands

  7. Industry Adaptation Following Lasker’s Innovations

  8. Lasker's Impact on Other Key Industries and Products

  9. Modern Brands Influenced by Lasker's Legacy

  10. Conclusion and Future Marketing of Orange Juice in 2024

The Early Days of Albert Lasker

Albert Lasker was born on May 1, 1880, in Freiburg, Germany, to Morris and Nettie Davis Lasker, a family of Jewish descent. His father, a successful businessman, moved the family to Galveston, Texas, when Albert was just a child. Growing up in Galveston during the late 19th century, Albert was exposed to a bustling port city environment, a melting pot of cultures and ideas, which was undergoing rapid growth and transformation. This setting, combined with his father's entrepreneurial spirit, likely played a significant role in shaping Albert's innovative thinking and business acumen.

Albert was one of three children, with an older brother named Edward and a younger sister, Flora. The Lasker household was one of affluence and education, where intellectual pursuits and business acumen were valued and nurtured. His father, Morris Lasker, was a prominent figure in the community, involved in various business ventures and civic activities. This early exposure to business and civic responsibility instilled in Albert a sense of ambition and the importance of impactful work. Despite this promising environment, Albert's formal education was relatively brief, and he did not attend college. Instead, he was drawn to the world of business and advertising from a young age, embarking on a career that would eventually revolutionize the advertising industry.

The Orange and Orange Juice Market Pre-Sunkist

Before the advent of the Sunkist era, the orange and orange juice market in the United States was markedly different from what we know today. In the early 20th century, oranges were perceived largely as a luxury rather than a daily dietary staple. They were predominantly consumed during special occasions, particularly around the holiday season. This seasonal demand led to a pattern of boom and bust for orange growers, with prices fluctuating significantly depending on the time of year. The market was fragmented, with numerous small growers, and there was no significant brand presence or concerted marketing effort to promote oranges on a large scale.

In terms of production, the U.S. was not yet the global citrus powerhouse it would become. California and Florida were the primary growing regions, but their output was modest compared to future capacities. The lack of a unified marketing strategy and the absence of modern transportation and refrigeration technologies meant that oranges were often a local or regional commodity, not widely distributed or consumed nationally. The concept of drinking orange juice as a regular part of a diet was virtually non-existent; oranges were primarily sold and consumed whole.

Globally, the situation was somewhat similar. Countries that grew oranges, such as those in the Mediterranean region, saw them as seasonal fruits, not year-round dietary components. International trade in fresh fruit was limited due to the perishable nature of oranges and the logistical challenges of long-distance transport in the pre-refrigeration era. Thus, in many parts of the world, oranges were enjoyed locally, and their consumption patterns mirrored those seen in the U.S. – seasonal and not a part of daily dietary habits.

Advertising Pre-Lasker

Before the Sunkist campaign and the transformative work of Albert Lasker, the world of advertising was in a markedly different stage of its evolution. The late 19th and early 20th centuries were a period characterized by a straightforward, often blunt approach to advertising. Ads were largely informational, focusing on listing the attributes and prices of products rather than attempting to engage with the consumer's emotions or aspirations. This era of advertising lacked the psychological depth and creative storytelling that would later define the industry.

During this time, advertising was seen more as a means of public announcement rather than a tool for strategic persuasion. Newspapers and magazines were cluttered with dense, text-heavy advertisements that did little to differentiate one product from another in the mind of the consumer. The primary goal was to inform the public of a product's existence and availability, not to create brand identity or loyalty. The notion of brand-based storytelling or creating an emotional connection with consumers was virtually non-existent. Visuals, when used, were rudimentary and primarily served to illustrate the product.

In this environment, the role of advertising agencies was more akin to space brokers. They acted as intermediaries between businesses wanting to advertise and the newspapers or other media outlets. Their job was to buy space and place the ad, with little involvement in the creative process or strategic planning. The concept of an advertising agency as a creative powerhouse, developing comprehensive campaigns and crafting brand narratives, had yet to emerge.

Lasker’s Involvement and Campaign Execution for Sunkist

Albert Lasker's foray into the world of advertising began with a mix of serendipity and ambition. At the age of 18, Lasker, who was seeking a career beyond the conventional paths, found his calling in a chance encounter. He read a book about advertising by Thomas Dreier and was instantly captivated by the potential of the field. Determined to pursue a career in advertising, he moved from Texas to Chicago, where he started working at Lord & Thomas, an advertising agency, in 1898. This was a modest beginning for what would be a legendary career, as he started off doing menial tasks. However, his talent and innovative thinking soon caught the attention of his employers.

Lasker quickly rose through the ranks at Lord & Thomas. By 1903, he had become a partner at the agency, showcasing his exceptional skill in understanding and influencing consumer behavior. His approach to advertising was revolutionary. He transformed it from a mere medium of announcing products to a sophisticated method of persuasive communication that appealed to the emotions and desires of consumers. Lasker emphasized the importance of selling the idea behind a product, not just the product itself.

Lasker's involvement with Sunkist marked a significant chapter in his career. In the early 1900s, the California Fruit Growers Exchange, later known as Sunkist, approached Lord & Thomas for help. They were grappling with an excess production of oranges and needed a strategy to boost sales. Lasker, recognizing the potential to transform the market for oranges, took on the challenge. His goal was not just to increase sales but to change the way consumers perceived and consumed oranges.

The campaign execution for Sunkist under Lasker's guidance was a masterclass in marketing strategy and innovation. The steps included:

  • Research and Understanding: Lasker and his team conducted extensive market research to understand consumer perceptions and habits regarding oranges.

  • Rebranding and Repositioning: He worked to shift oranges from being seen as a luxury item to a daily health necessity. This involved creating a narrative around the health benefits of oranges.

  • Innovative Campaigns: The campaigns were multifaceted, including:

    • Engaging slogans like “An orange a day keeps the doctor away,” to promote daily consumption.

    • Educational campaigns that highlighted the benefits of vitamin C and positioned oranges as essential for a healthy diet.

    • The genius of the "Drink an Orange" campaign lay in its simple, yet revolutionary idea: encouraging people to drink orange juice instead of just eating oranges. This concept was groundbreaking at the time. It proposed a new way to consume oranges, making them a part of the daily American diet.

    • Distribution of Orange Juicers: A key component of the campaign was the mass distribution of inexpensive, manual orange juicers. This move was instrumental in promoting the idea of drinking orange juice at home. By putting a tangible tool in consumers' hands, Sunkist effectively facilitated and encouraged the new consumption habit.

  • Strategic Advertising: The advertisements were placed across various media platforms, including newspapers, magazines and billboards, to maximize visibility and reach.

The results of this campaign were groundbreaking. It not only led to a significant increase in orange consumption and sales but also established Sunkist as a dominant brand in the citrus industry. Moreover, Lasker's work with Sunkist became a case study in how advertising could fundamentally alter consumer behavior and market dynamics, setting new standards in the world of marketing and branding.

Post-Campaign Impact on Orange Juice and the American Breakfast

After the "Drink an Orange" campaign, the American breakfast landscape underwent a significant transformation, with orange juice becoming a staple item. The changes were both immediate and far-reaching, influencing not only consumer habits but also the broader food and beverage industry.

  1. Increased Consumption: The most direct impact of the campaign was a dramatic increase in the consumption of orange juice. As households across America began to embrace the idea of drinking orange juice, demand surged. This was a stark contrast to the pre-campaign days when oranges were considered more of a luxury or seasonal fruit.

  2. Shift in Breakfast Culture: The campaign played a pivotal role in reshaping the typical American breakfast. Orange juice, previously not a regular item on the breakfast table, became synonymous with a healthy, wholesome start to the day. It was no longer just a beverage; it was an integral part of the American morning routine.

  3. Boost to the Citrus Industry: The success of the campaign provided a significant boost to the citrus industry, especially in states like California and Florida. The increased demand for oranges for juicing led to expanded cultivation and helped stabilize the market, providing a more consistent and lucrative outlet for growers.

  4. Nutritional Awareness: Alongside the marketing push, there was an increased emphasis on the health benefits of orange juice, particularly its high vitamin C content. This aligned well with the growing public interest in nutrition and wellness, further cementing orange juice's place at the breakfast table.

  5. Expansion and Innovation in the Beverage Industry: The popularity of orange juice inspired innovations within the beverage industry. Companies began to explore new methods of juice production, storage, and distribution. This period saw the development of frozen concentrated orange juice, which revolutionized the market by making orange juice more accessible and easier to transport and store.

  6. Influence on Other Breakfast Foods: The success of orange juice also had a ripple effect on other breakfast foods. Seeing the potential of targeted marketing and the appeal of health benefits, producers of cereals, dairy products, and other breakfast items began to refine their marketing strategies and product offerings.

So the post-campaign era for orange juice in America was marked by a significant shift in consumer behavior, with long-lasting impacts on dietary patterns, the citrus industry, and the broader food and beverage market. Orange juice’s cemented status as a breakfast staple is a testament to the power of effective marketing and its ability to shape cultural norms and consumer habits.

Slogans and Campaigns of Sunkist and Other Brands

The "Drink an Orange" campaign by Sunkist set a high benchmark in advertising, inspiring many catchy slogans in the orange and orange juice industry. Below are some notable slogans from Sunkist and other brands that followed:

Sunkist Slogans

  1. "Drink an Orange"

  2. "An orange a day keeps the doctor away"

  3. "Goodness Sun-Kissed"

  4. "Sunkist Oranges—Healthful as Sunshine"

  5. "America's Best-Selling Oranges"

Other Orange and Orange Juice Brands

  1. Tropicana: "Squeeze it to believe it"

  2. Florida's Natural: "Not from concentrate"

  3. Minute Maid: "Put good in. Get good out."

  4. Simply Orange: "Honestly Simple"

  5. SunRype: "100% Pure. Not from concentrate."

These slogans reflect a clear trend in the industry towards emphasizing the naturalness, health benefits, and purity of orange juice.

Industry Adaptation Following Lasker’s Innovations

Following Albert Lasker's innovative advertising campaign for Sunkist, several significant changes occurred in the orange industry, reflecting both the immediate impact of the campaign and broader shifts in marketing strategies, production methods, and consumer behavior.

  1. Increased Focus on Branding and Marketing:

    • Brand Identity: Companies in the orange industry began to recognize the importance of brand identity and narrative in marketing. This led to more focused efforts on building strong, recognizable brands.

    • Consumer-Centric Marketing: There was a shift towards more consumer-centric marketing strategies, similar to Lasker's approach, which emphasized understanding and appealing to consumer desires and lifestyles.

  2. Product Diversification and Innovation:

    • Juice Products: Companies started innovating with different types of orange juice products, such as frozen concentrate, pulp-free options, and added-calcium varieties.

    • Packaging Innovations: Advances in packaging, like cartons and plastic containers, made orange juice more convenient and accessible, further increasing its consumption.

  3. Expansion of Distribution Networks:

    • Wider Distribution: The success of the Sunkist campaign led to an expansion of distribution channels. Oranges and orange juice were marketed and sold across the country, moving beyond regional boundaries.

    • Global Reach: The industry also saw increased international trade, as improvements in transportation and storage made it feasible to export oranges and orange juice to other countries.

  4. Agricultural and Production Enhancements:

    • Cultivation Techniques: To meet the increased demand, growers adopted more efficient cultivation techniques and expanded their orchards, particularly in states like California and Florida.

    • Processing Technologies: Advancements in processing technologies improved the efficiency and quality of orange juice production, enabling companies to maintain a consistent supply year-round.

  5. Health and Nutritional Emphasis:

    • Health Marketing: Following Lasker's lead, the industry continued to emphasize the health benefits of oranges and orange juice, particularly their Vitamin C content, in their marketing campaigns.

    • Nutritional Research: There was an increased focus on nutritional research and highlighting the role of orange juice in a balanced diet, aligning with growing health consciousness among consumers.

  6. Consumer Behavior Change:

    • Daily Consumption: Oranges and orange juice transitioned from being seen as luxury or seasonal items to essential parts of daily diets, especially for breakfast.

    • Perception Shift: There was a broader shift in consumer perception, with oranges and orange juice being associated with health, vitality, and wellness.

Lasker's innovations led to a more dynamic, consumer-focused, and health-oriented orange industry, with enhanced production and distribution capacities.

Lasker's Impact on Other Key Industries and Products

Albert Lasker's innovative approach to advertising had a profound and direct impact on several key industries and products, far beyond the realm of Sunkist oranges. His strategies revolutionized the way products were marketed, creating a ripple effect that reshaped entire industries.

  1. Automobile Industry: Lasker worked with General Motors to change the way cars were marketed. He shifted the focus from merely the functional aspects of cars to the idea of style, prestige, and personal expression. This repositioning helped make cars a symbol of status and identity, influencing consumer behavior and preferences in the automobile sector.

  2. Tobacco Industry: Perhaps one of Lasker's most significant impacts was in the tobacco industry, particularly with his work for Lucky Strike cigarettes. He revolutionized cigarette advertising by targeting women, a largely untapped market at the time. The "Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet" campaign was groundbreaking, linking smoking to weight control and fashion, which significantly boosted sales and changed public perceptions about smoking.

  3. Food Industry: Lasker's work with Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice for Quaker Oats was another example of his innovative approach. He marketed these products as being "shot from guns" to create a unique and exciting image, which dramatically increased their popularity. This approach of making ordinary food products seem extraordinary through imaginative storytelling had a lasting impact on food advertising.

  4. Beauty and Hygiene Products: Lasker also made significant contributions to the marketing of beauty and hygiene products. His campaigns for Palmolive and Kotex were revolutionary. For Palmolive, he focused on the soap's natural ingredients and their benefits for skin, while for Kotex, he broke social taboos by openly advertising feminine hygiene products, changing the way such products were marketed.

  5. Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare: Lasker's strategies were applied in the pharmaceutical industry as well. He was instrumental in promoting the idea of daily vitamins and played a role in the marketing of vitamins and health supplements, impacting the way these products were perceived and consumed.

  6. Charitable Organizations: Beyond commercial products, Lasker's impact extended to charitable organizations. His work with the American Cancer Society, where he helped create awareness campaigns, demonstrated how advertising techniques could be used effectively for public health education and fundraising.

  7. Public Policy and Political Advertising: Lasker also influenced the realm of public policy and political advertising. His methods in crafting persuasive messages were adopted in political campaigns and public policy initiatives, showcasing how advertising techniques could be used to sway public opinion and promote political agendas.

In each of these industries, Lasker's approach centered on understanding consumer psychology, creating engaging narratives, and focusing on selling ideas and lifestyles rather than just products. His impact was not just in elevating sales figures but in changing consumer attitudes and behaviors, setting new standards in advertising that are still relevant and influential today.

Modern Brands Influenced by Lasker's Legacy

Albert Lasker's legacy in advertising, characterized by innovative strategies and a focus on consumer psychology, has influenced numerous modern brands across various industries. His approach of creating engaging narratives and emotional connections with consumers set a blueprint that many contemporary brands follow. Here are some examples:

  1. Apple Inc.: Apple's marketing strategies, particularly under Steve Jobs, echoed Lasker's principles. Their campaigns, like the famous "Think Different" campaign, focused on selling ideas and lifestyles rather than just products. They positioned Apple products as not just technology but as tools for creativity and individual expression.

  2. Nike: Nike's "Just Do It" campaign is a prime example of Lasker's influence. Rather than focusing on the technical aspects of their sportswear, Nike's ads inspire and motivate, tapping into the emotional and aspirational aspects of sports and fitness.

  3. Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola's marketing strategies, especially their focus on happiness and sharing, resonate with Lasker's approach. Their campaigns often center around creating an emotional experience, making Coca-Cola more than just a beverage.

  4. Procter & Gamble (P&G): P&G, with its multitude of household brands, has embraced a marketing approach similar to Lasker’s. They focus on storytelling and connecting with consumers on a personal level, as seen in campaigns for brands like Tide and Pampers.

  5. Dove (Unilever): Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign is a modern embodiment of selling an idea – in this case, the concept of natural, diverse beauty – rather than just a product. This approach is a direct descendant of Lasker's strategy of appealing to consumer emotions and values.

  6. Starbucks: Starbucks’ marketing goes beyond selling coffee; it sells the experience of a third place between work and home. This strategy of creating a lifestyle around a product is reminiscent of Lasker's approach.

  7. Red Bull: Red Bull’s marketing strategies extend far beyond selling an energy drink; they encompass a lifestyle of adventure, sports, and energy. This is in line with Lasker’s principle of selling a concept or lifestyle rather than just a product.

  8. Tesla: Tesla’s marketing, or rather the lack of traditional marketing, also follows a Lasker-like approach. By focusing on the visionary ideals of sustainable energy and the charismatic leadership of Elon Musk, Tesla sells a future and a vision more than just cars.

  9. Airbnb: Airbnb’s marketing focuses on the experience of travel and belonging rather than just accommodation options, creating an emotional connection with consumers who seek unique and authentic experiences.

  10. GoPro: GoPro markets not just a camera but the idea of adventure and capturing extraordinary moments, appealing to the aspirations and lifestyles of its customers.

Each of these brands, in their unique ways, embodies the essence of Lasker's advertising philosophy – understanding consumer psychology and creating a narrative that transcends the product itself, thereby forging a deeper connection with the audience.

Conclusion and Future Marketing of Orange Juice in 2024

As we move into 2024, the marketing of oranges and orange juice continues to evolve, reflecting broader trends in consumer behavior, technological advancements, and global market dynamics. Here’s an overview of the current state, including innovations, trends, challenges, and opportunities in our sector:

  1. Digital and Social Media Marketing: Brands are increasingly leveraging digital platforms and social media for marketing. Interactive campaigns, influencer partnerships, and targeted online advertising are crucial in reaching a diverse and global audience.

  2. Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing: There's a growing consumer demand for sustainably sourced and environmentally friendly products. Brands are focusing on sustainable farming practices, reduced carbon footprints, and eco-friendly packaging to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.

  3. Health and Wellness Focus: Continuing the trend started by Lasker, modern marketing emphasizes the health benefits of oranges and orange juice, highlighting aspects like high vitamin C content, antioxidants, and no added sugars. This aligns with the global trend towards health and wellness.

  4. Personalization and Customization: Advances in data analytics allow for more personalized marketing strategies. Brands can tailor their messaging and products to individual consumer preferences, dietary needs, and health concerns.

  5. Innovative Product Variants: Companies are experimenting with new product variations, like fortified orange juices (with added vitamins, minerals, or probiotics) and flavor combinations, to cater to diverse palates and health needs.


  1. Competition from Alternative Beverages: Orange juice faces stiff competition from a growing range of beverage options, including exotic fruit juices, plant-based drinks, and functional beverages (like energy drinks and wellness shots).

  2. Supply Chain Disruptions: Issues such as climate change, water scarcity, and global supply chain disruptions pose significant challenges to orange production and distribution, impacting prices and availability.

  3. Changing Consumer Preferences: Shifting consumer preferences, particularly among younger demographics who might opt for trendier beverage options, pose a challenge for the orange juice market.

  4. Health Concerns over Sugar Content: Despite being natural, the sugar content in orange juice can be a concern for health-conscious consumers, particularly in light of increasing awareness of sugar-related health issues.


  1. Expanding Global Markets: Emerging markets present significant opportunities for the expansion of orange and orange juice consumption. Tailoring marketing strategies to different cultural contexts can open up new consumer bases.

  2. Technological Advancements: Utilizing technology like AI for market analysis, blockchain for supply chain transparency, and innovative packaging solutions can enhance product appeal and operational efficiency.

  3. Collaborations and Partnerships: Collaborations with health and wellness influencers, chefs, and nutritionists can help in rebranding orange juice as a versatile and healthful product.

  4. Educational Campaigns: Informative campaigns that address misconceptions and educate consumers about the nutritional benefits of oranges and orange juice can help in maintaining market share.

In conclusion, while the orange and orange juice market in 2024 faces a complex set of challenges, there are also substantial opportunities for growth and innovation. By staying attuned to consumer trends, leveraging technological advancements, and maintaining a focus on sustainability and health, the industry can continue to thrive in the ever-evolving market landscape.

One thing is for sure: We have to thank Albert Lasker for the fact that we have these tremendous marketing tools and mindsets available nowadays!