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Mon, Jun 24

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Winter Garden

Selling Sunshine: The Art of Citrus Advertising

This exhibit from the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation features many of the ingenious ads, spanning over a century, that were guaranteed to convince the world to purchase Florida’s liquid sunshine.

Selling Sunshine: The Art of Citrus Advertising
Selling Sunshine: The Art of Citrus Advertising

Time & Location

Jun 24, 2024, 3:11 PM – Jun 30, 2024, 1:41 PM

Winter Garden, 300 W Plant St, Winter Garden, FL 34787, USA

About the event

Cultivated citrus, the crop that shaped Florida’s economy and landscape for a century and a half, took root in Florida by the mid-1800s. Wild orange stands eventually gave way to groves of sweet oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes. Rootstocks were nourished and hybrids developed, and Florida began to resemble one gigantic grove as more and more growers settled here.

Originally concentrated in the northern part of the state, growers moved further south in pursuit of warmer weather after the Great Freeze of 1894-5. As others arrived to harvest Florida’s agricultural gold, inexpensive land was drained and planted with rows of fruit trees that stretched to the horizon.

For over 150 years, publications dedicated to Florida’s citrus industry have touted statistics in order to promote their flourishing crops: numbers of trees, acres and, most importantly, dollars. In 1928, the Seald-Sweet Chronicle published a meticulous list of the number of citrus trees planted in each of Florida’s counties. The state’s total that year – 22,026,714 trees – showed a 50% increase over 1919.

Somehow, all of this fruit needed to be marketed and sold.

From the outset, consumers had to be convinced that citrus was good for them. Beginning in the early years of the 20th century, advertising copywriters were quick to mine the scientific advances of the day to create new trends for the public to follow – and newly-prosperous Americans were ready to embrace a healthy lifestyle.

World War II afforded Florida’s citrus growers the opportunity to ship their juice overseas to nourish our troops. Advertisers depicted soldiers in magazine ads, appealing directly to America’s patriotism and support of the war.

The post-war decades saw the creation of international markets for Florida citrus, as peacetime gave rise to new innovations in the industry. The dramatic rise in concentrated juice sales was a direct reflection of the consumer demand for convenience.

Since the Florida citrus industry’s very beginnings, marketing fruit in its many forms required imagination and creativity. Major setbacks in the late 20th century, such as freezes, citrus canker, and bacterial greening, have continued to challenge the industry. The resultant declining acreage, along with competition from California and Brazil, has forced marketers to develop fresh means of marketing Florida’s liquid sunshine.

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