Here comes the sun, and some OJ

Tropicana’s ad brings light to the Arctic, but not everyone is smiling

Here comes the sun, and some OJ

Evoking emotion in a one-minute commercial spot is tough. But a new ad for Tropicana, shot in the remote town of Inuvik, N.W.T., is eliciting plenty—and not all of it positive. The ad, which first aired during the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, captures the reaction of the town’s residents when, in the round-the-clock darkness of winter, an enormous helium balloon, emitting a powerful 100,000 lumens of light, is hoisted into the sky. As they bask in the glow, bottles of Tropicana orange juice are dispensed. “On January 8th, we brought the sun to Inuvik,” read the words on the screen. “Because we believe brighter mornings make for brighter days.”

According to Dale Hooper, vice-president of marketing for PepsiCo Beverages Canada (which owns Tropicana), the response has been “unbelievable.” Online, the video has been viewed over 60,000 times; in a matter of days, a Facebook page dedicated to the ad accumulated some 35,000 fans. “We just made movie stars out of people from Inuvik,” he says. But it’s an honour that not all residents are pleased to accept. “I don’t like the way we’re portrayed in it,” 17-year-old Molly McLeod told the Inuvik Drum. “It’s like we’re so out of touch and here’s Tropicana coming to our town to save us.” An editorial, meanwhile, points out that the ad “erroneously” claims to have been shot after 31 days without sunlight. In fact, the sun peeked up on Jan. 6, “days before the film started rolling.”

According to Mayor Denny Rodgers, however, these comments don’t reflect the majority view. On top of giving residents what he calls an “ah moment,” Tropicana invested $25,000 in community programs and provided an opportunity to showcase the town. “They’re up here shooting a commercial for orange juice,” Rodgers says. “But I look at it as, ‘What’s in it for us?’ ”

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.