Marvel’s newest superhero is named Captain Citrus, who draws his solar powers from the sun and whose secret headquarters is a Florida orange grove.
Yes, if you’re beginning to see where this is going, you understand contemporary custom branding deals well.
Captain Citrus is the result of an association of Florida citrus growers, who commissioned Marvel for the sum of $1 million dollars to remake their own just three-year old version of Captain Citrus, in an attempt of course to sell more orange juice.
According to NPR, Florida's citrus industry has been hit hard in recent years by a disease that has hurt production and by declining consumer demand for orange juice that peaked in 1998. So a collaboration with one of the hottest entertainment producers in the world was born, and a caped fruit that hailed from the planet Orange was revamped into a guy the citrus growers from Florida at least believe can hang with the Avengers against The Leader.
Somewhat ironically, part of the reason the Florida Department of Citrus wants to revamp its own cartoon character so quickly after its creation was he was shaped like an orange (of course), which in 2014 means he doesn’t look “fit” enough.
Department spokesman David Steele told the Tampa Bay Times, “The prior manifestation of Captain Citrus was shaped like a bowling ball. The new one will be buff."
So, apparently, oranges are good for you, but they just don't look healthy?
The deal, which has resulted in among other things, the revamped character, a digital comic book by Ralph Macchio and Kevin Sharpe, a million comic books that will be distributed to schools, full-color teaser inserts in about 2.5 million Captain America: Winter Soldier DVDs, and of course free media, is just the latest in a strong of deals originating from Marvel Custom Solutions. Other recent branding deals Marvel has entered into include Lexus, M&M 's and Kiehl's, and is merely a modern, ramped-up version of the ubiquitous Hostess ads from many comic book readers' youths.
According to NPR, these types of deals are increasingly popular, citing Marvel’s Bill Rosemann claiming his division will probably work with a hundred clients in 2014.
Marvel will work with almost any company with a story it wants to tell, Rosemann told NPR, so long as it doesn’t damage the publisher’s brand.