MISS CHIQUITA BANANA STARTS 50TH BIRTHDAY PERSONAL TOUR

CINCINNATI -- Miss Chiquita -- the voluptuous, velvet-voiced, swivel-hipped cartoon banana character who some say is an American icon -- is celebrating her 50th birthday.Good Nutrition Tour" will feature a real-life Miss Chiquita who will participate in promotional events in 25 cities.Miss Chiquita's public appearances are the centerpiece of a year-long marketing campaign that will involve point-of-purchase

CINCINNATI -- Miss Chiquita -- the voluptuous, velvet-voiced, swivel-hipped cartoon banana character who some say is an American icon -- is celebrating her 50th birthday.

Good Nutrition Tour" will feature a real-life Miss Chiquita who will participate in promotional events in 25 cities.

Miss Chiquita's public appearances are the centerpiece of a year-long marketing campaign that will involve point-of-purchase displays, radio advertising, direct-mail trade communications and in-store appearances.

In addition, the company is issuing a retrospective series of Miss Chiquita stickers and a limited edition 50th birthday sticker. "This is an integrated campaign that will both drive banana sales for our retail partners and further Chiquita's long-term marketing goals," said Sherrie Terry, Chiquita's director of marketing.

In several markets Miss Chiquita will team up with supermarket companies to promote the health benefits of bananas. During one scheduled promotion, for example, Bruno's in Birmingham, Ala., will work with Chiquita to promote bananas at Zoo America in Atlanta. Bruno's customers who bring a blue Chiquita label to the zoo will receive a discount on admission. During the tour, Miss Chiquita is expected to distribute over a million free bananas at music festivals, baseball parks and other high-profile events. A large donation of bananas to agencies across America that feed hungry children is scheduled at the conclusion of the tour, according to organizers.

The Miss Chiquita cartoon character first appeared promoting Chiquita bananas in 1944 in 80-second, color films shown in movie theaters.

She danced and sang a jingle touting the nutritional value of bananas as well as the proper ways to ripen and eat bananas. She also sang on radio commercials which, at the peak of their popularity, were aired almost 400 times a day. She later appeared in television commercials.