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Industry hasn't soured on Burt

Published Oct. 9, 2005

Actor Burt Reynolds has gotten a bad rep lately as pitchman for Florida orange juice.

Some in the industry have told news media that they think he isn't reaching the right audience. And his recent divorce announcement hasn't exactly helped Reynolds' playboy-turned-family-man image.

Still, Florida's Department of Citrus plans to hang onto him as pitchman, at least for a few more weeks, said Eric Boomhower, a citrus department spokesman. The quasi-governmental department markets and regulates the citrus industry.

Last fall it paid Reynolds $500,000 to appear in a year's worth of ads, which began in November.

A report on consumer's recall of the Reynolds ads _ during the months of November through January _ showed that 13 percent more people remember seeing Florida orange juice commercials than remembered seeing them last year. Not bad for Burt, Boomhower said.

But in July another report will track consumer recall for February through April. That may be the deciding factor, he said.

So far the commercials have played on his relationships to family members; one ad features his son, another features Loni Anderson off-camera. The Anderson ad has been pulled, Boomhower said.