Brands

Meet Marvel’s New Branded Content Superhero, Captain Citrus

What do you get when you combine a piece of fruit with Marvel’s superhero domination? Surprisingly, the answer is a powerhouse piece of branded content.

Marvel has teamed up with Florida orange growers to create Captain Citrus, a new health-conscious hero who truly appreciates the nutritional value of orange juice. Captain Citrus comes from a mammoth orange grove and fights evil—all with a little help from superpowers derived from the sun.

While video and infographics are the popular mediums of the moment, Marvel has released a digital comic to promote their new superhero. The content was sponsored by the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC). And in the first installment, Captain Citrus helps the Avengers favorites battle grape-purple “humanoids.”

“What a day… I met the Avengers, fought one of their worst foes, and helped save the world. And just to think, it all started with a glass of orange juice!” Captain Citrus exclaims with a grin at the end.

It’s cute and corny. Nutritional facts, Florida orange juice pictures, and crossword puzzles dot the pages of the digital comic book. The superhero is obviously geared towards a younger age group, but the underlying emphasis on nutrition and healthy choices is likely to appeal to parents as well.

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Costumed versions of the hero will also make appearances at a number of schools to teach students about the value of healthy eating; to prep for the events, the FDOC dropped off 1 million comic books in classrooms across the country.

What prompted the unlikely alliance between oranges and superhero?

As NPR reported, disease has plowed through Florida crops, and consumer demand for orange juice has been dwindling. The FDOC drew up the backstory when it launched an educational campaign in 2011 with Captain Citrus at the helm. After moving to Marvel, the superhero received a dramatic facelift. See, where Florida oranges are lacking, Marvel is thriving. Who wouldn’t want to be associated with the company that’s been pumping out blockbuster hits like The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy?

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Marvel has had practice with this type of branded content before. Over the years, their Customs Solutions department concocted many other fantastically weird fusions: Eminem teamed up with Iron Man, for example, and “pore-zapping” SpyGal, a unique hero with a knack for beautifying, appeared in her own comic book.

In a press release, Marvel Entertainment creative director and editor Bill Rosemann said, “Captain Citrus will show readers that while they may not be able to fly or shoot solar blasts, they can make healthy choices in their everyday lives and unleash the hero within.”

And if Citrus Man is a hit, don’t be surprised if he gets his own franchise on the big screen. Marvel’s recent movies have been tremendously successful at the box office, and there’s room for more—even one based on a piece of fruit.

Image by Florida Citrus
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