(Sept. 18) LAKELAND, Fla. — A series of television commercials that promote Florida citrus and feature Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden will debut Oct. 6 during the first half of an ABC Monday Night Football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Bucs.

Three television commercials and a pair of radio spots featuring Gruden in the Florida Department of Citrus’ new Florida Citrus Matters campaign were unveiled by the department Sept. 17.

Members of the Florida Citrus Commission were impressed with the robust tone of the commercials and unanimously approved the final versions.

In each of the three television commercials, Gruden explains the importance of the citrus industry to the state of Florida and the threat of foreign countries taking it away, in reference to the import tariff on Brazilian products that is in limbo.

Gruden explains that citrus is the Sunshine State’s second-largest industry and supports 90,000 jobs and nearly $1 billion in tax revenue.

“Foreign governments are attempting to eliminate the tariff on imports, and if that happens, a lot of family farms will disappear,” Gruden says in the spot. “Join the team, save the tariff because, for all of us, citrus matters.”

The ads wrap up with Gruden saying, “Let’s pound the juice. I love it.”

Gruden, who often used the term “pound the rock” in reference to his team’s running game last season en route to the Buccaneers’ 48-21 Super Bowl win over the Oakland Raiders, was introduced June 20 as the industry spokesman for the Citrus Matters campaign.

The campaign was the concept of Department of Citrus executive director Bob Crawford, who believed it was necessary to counteract what is thought to be a sliding public image caused by lawsuits and protests against the effort to eliminate citrus canker.

“This is the most powerful issue commercial I’ve ever seen,” he said.

The commercials were written and directed by Mike Malone, creative director of The Richards Group, the Dallas-based advertising agency used by Department of Citrus, with input from Michelle Chandler, the department’s director of marketing.

The spots were produced by the Shoot Florida production company in Miami at a cost of less than $50,000, Malone said.

Malone said the cost of the first phase of the campaign, which runs through mid-November, will be $244,000. The second and third commercials will be used in other phases of the campaign during the fall and winter months.

In June, the Department of Citrus announced a five-year, $4.2 million partnership with the Buccaneers that included Gruden as spokesman for the Citrus Matters campaign.