Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the apple and pear marketing activity into a range of activities to grow awareness and consumption, under the Hort Innovation Apple and Pear Fund. Here’s a look at some of the most recent activity…
APPLE MARKETING ACTIVITY
Most of the above-the-line advertising – that is, advertising that targets a broad range of consumers via mass media (i.e. TV, print radio and the internet) – for Aussie Apples wrapped up at the end of August.
Aussie Apples finished its TV campaign at the start of September, successfully hitting all the targets set for how many people the campaign aimed to reach. As part of the four weeks of TV advertising that aired from July to August, the Aussie Apples commercial featured in top performing shows like Ninja Warrior, and MasterChef Australia. Aussie Apples had 8 weeks of television coverage in total for 2018.
Aussie Apples also had radio presence from April to September, with the segment played 754 times across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne radio stations.
Aussie Apples digital activity continued throughout the year and this involved playing the 15 second television commercial across relevant websites, 6 second bumper ads on YouTube, and 15 second audio ads on Spotify. All targets for this campaign were exceeded and from April to August 5.5 million views of content were delivered to consumers.
This campaign is having a strong effect on consumers, with ad recall on a consistent upward trend. In recent consumer testing, consumers were shown the Aussie Apples TV commercial and YouTube ad and are asked whether they remember seeing any of these or similar ads from this advertising campaign. In early 2017, this prompted recall was sitting at 8% and in the most recent testing, this had increased to 26% of respondents claiming to have seen the ad, which is a great result.
The Aussie apples public relations strategy seeks to inspire people to use apples for different snacking occasions and for cooking, and to educate consumers about the health benefits of apples. To support this work, last year Hort Innovation engaged nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan as an influential health spokesperson to help review and communicate research results related to apples. Following the positive results from the work, Hort Innovation has renewed its partnership with Joanna.
In a media release Four reasons you should never peel an apple, Dr McMillan summarised recent research about the benefits of eating apples with the skin on. Several studies published in the past year have highlighted the wide-ranging health benefits of apple polyphenols – a large group of natural, plant chemicals that are more concentrated in the apple skin. The release was distributed in August and achieved some positive coverage, including features in The Daily Mail and Babyology.
Another component of the PR campaign was to work with health and food social ‘influencers’ – people with a high profile who write, talk or otherwise communicate, particularly across social media, with large audiences interested in listening to them.
Hort Innovation worked with influencers to create compelling content focusing on snacking, food trends and health. This content was shared through the influencer’s own channels to reach their engaged audience as well as being pitched to traditional media outlets to drive wider coverage.
Hort Innovation has partnered with three influencers in the areas of health and food – Jessica Sepel, Leah Itsines and Amy Whiteford – who appeal to millennials and mums, which are the key target audience for Aussie Apples.
An example of this content is Apple Waffles, created by Amy, and shared on Nine Kitchen. Amy is a recipe developer, food blogger and mum of two. She creates and shares family-friendly recipes and food tips and tricks, all of which are relatable to the everyday mum. She has a Facebook following of over 90,000, and her own website, healthylittlefoodies.com, where she shares content.
Ekka – The Royal Queensland Show
Aussie Apples and Australian Pears were again present at the Ekka show, with a fresh and visually engaging exhibit in the busy Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion.
This year, approximately 400,000 attendees enjoyed the show over 10 days. They were able to purchase whole apples and pears, slinkies and apple juice. In addition, sampling of Pink Lady®, Jazz™ and Granny Smith apples and Packham pears was conducted to drive awareness of different varieties. In total, over 16,000 apple and pear wedges were sampled, accompanied by leaflets containing information about varieties, seasonality and recipe tips. The Aussie Apples mascot Mr Crunch also made regular appearances each day and was a huge draw card, especially with kids.
The most recent consumer tracking studies were undertaken in August and October 2018. Results from the tracking were very positive, and there has been some great improvement across a range of metrics.
Apples are currently sitting in the top 5 snacks eaten most often, and a very promising insight is that for families with children, 41% claim that apples are the snack eaten most often, compared to 29% the previous year.
The number of people stating that they are buying apples weekly or more has increased significantly in the last year from 51% to 58%, and the number of people stating they are very likely or likely to purchase apples in the next 2 weeks has also increased compared to 2017 and 2016.
PEAR MARKETING ACTIVITY
Australian Pears social media activity continues to attract and engage consumers via Facebook and now Instagram which was launched in September 2018. Throughout September, compelling content was promoted across both channels to educate consumers about pear varieties, ripening indicators and tips for selection, as well as delicious pear recipes. Over 1.4 million people were reached with pear content. Australian pears will continue to promote content until December 2018.
Tribe is an online marketplace that connects brands with social media influencers, helping brands find everyday people to promote them through content. Australian Pears have partnered with several Instagram influencers to craft content under the pillars of Ripening, Packham Pears and Bosc and Corella Pears. To date, 91 pieces have been posted by relevant influencers, resulting in over 82,000 engagements (likes, views and comments), showing that the content is engaging with the target audience.
Australian Pears were featured in a double page spread in three leading magazines - Super food ideas, Delicious and Taste - reaching 1.9 million people. The article focused on different pear varieties, including their seasonality, flavor profiles, uses and ripening indicators, as well as featuring ripening information.
Following great results from in-store demonstrations from November 2017 to January 2018, a further 200 sampling sessions were conducted nationally across Woolworths and Coles in August and September 2018. The aim was to drive awareness of pears in-store to keep them top-of-mind at the point of purchase, educate consumers to give them confidence in choosing ripe pears or to ripen them at home, increase awareness of varieties, and, ultimately, to drive sales.
This involved displaying the major pear varieties to explain their differences in flavour, ripening and seasonality, as well as sampling wedges of Packham pears. Demonstrators also handed out leaflets that contained information on ripening, different varieties, seasonality and recipe tips. Feedback from shoppers showed that they found the leaflet very informative and are interested in learning about the ripening techniques for pears and different varieties. The positive consumer feedback also translated to sales – over the campaign, Woolworths saw an 11% increase in sales.
Ex-MasterChef contestant and star of “Everyday Gourmet” Justine Schofield was secured as the campaign ambassador for Australian Pears as a media drawcard and trusted voice who could deliver key messages with impact. Justine provided her secrets for picking the perfect pear and insights on how to ripen pears for a media release. She also created two recipes showcasing Australian pears, which were professionally photographed for media use.
To reinforce messages about selecting and ripening pears, a tip sheet was created and distributed to high reaching media outlets along with a hamper containing all the ingredients to make Justine’s Grilled Pear and Halloumi Salad. To date, Australian Pears have already had coverage in Body +Soul, Best Recipes and 9Kitchen.
A social influencer program was also undertaken to reach the target audience with educational messages about selecting pears. Rebecca Gawthorne (2017 Australian Pears ambassador) and Leah Itsines were commissioned to deliver education and usage inspiration using Instagram posts, as well as videos and Instagram stories. Combined, these two influencers have over 582,000 followers on Instagram.
Pears have also seen positive trends from the most recent wave of consumer tracking. 60% of respondents claimed they were likely/very likely to purchase pears in the next 2 weeks, up from 53% in the same period last year. There has also been a consistent upward trend of consumer’s preference for pears as a snack, and the data shows that pears are increasingly being used in different ways. Consumer understanding of pear ripening has also seen an increase and more consumers are also aware of the different varieties – 86%, an improvement of 8% in the last 3 months alone.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Apple and Pear Fund