Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the apple and pear marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and consumption, under the Hort Innovation Apple and Pear Fund. Here’s a quick look at some of the activities and achievements of 2018/19.
The 2018/19 financial year was another big year for Aussie Apples, with the continuation of the Get Your Crunch On campaign that was launched in March 2017. With activity across television, digital, radio, outdoor and social media, the campaign built on previously established messaging that apples are the ultimate go-to, on-the-go healthy snack.
Some key highlights for apple marketing in 2018/19:
- The Get Your Crunch On TV campaign proved to be a hit with parents, being recognised by the Parents Voice Awards for the second year in a row for positive food advertising to children.
- As of October 2018, 29 per cent of consumers could recall the Aussie Apples ad when prompted. This figure has grown month on month since the campaign’s inception and is a fantastic result when compared to benchmarks for the food and beverage industry (24 per cent) and automotive industry (27 per cent), demonstrating how successful the campaign has become.
- The number of people stating that they are buying apples weekly or more increased from 52 per cent in 2017/18 to 59 per cent in 2018/19.
- The number of people stating they are very likely or likely to purchase apples in the next two weeks also increased in 2018 compared to 2017 and 2016.
Aussie Apples on TV
In 2018/19, the Aussie Apples Get Your Crunch On ad appeared on TV for nine weeks, as a key channel to drive consumer awareness. For four weeks between July and August 2018, the commercial featured in the top 10 performing shows airing at the time, including Ninja Warrior and MasterChef, and hit every target set in every market.
To drive demand for the 2019 apple season, another round of advertising kicked off in April 2019, with five weeks of TV ads in all major metro markets, as well as key regional markets on the eastern seaboard. The campaign targeted the strong opening schedule of programs such as My Kitchen Rules, Lego Masters and Bachelor in Paradise, resulting in over four million grocery buyers seeing the Aussie Apples ad.
Digital media activity
Digital advertising for the Get Your Crunch On campaign involved playing the 15-second television commercial across catch-up television streaming services such as 10play, 9now and 7plus, six unskippable ads on YouTube, and 15-second audio ads on music service Spotify. Across the main networks, the Aussie Apples 15-second non-skippable ads were played on key shows such as MasterChef, House Rules and The Voice. All benchmarks for each activity were exceeded, and during the 2018 campaign, which ran from April to August, over 5.5 million consumers were reached.
In 2019, the digital campaign ran again from the end of April to the end of June 2019, also across catch-up services, YouTube and Spotify. Popular shows on other channels were also targeted to extend the campaign's reach, such as Game of Thrones on Foxtel and The Handmaid’s Tale across SBS. This activity delivered 3.1 million impressions, with both catch-up television and YouTube exceeding their targets by 113 per cent and 181 per cent respectively.
Radio is considered an effective way to reach target audiences, with 40 per cent of Aussies considering radio an important part of their daily routine and 63 per cent of grocery buyers listening to radio on the way to the shops, according to 2018 Roy Morgan research. The unique “crunch” sound of someone biting down on an apple in the Aussie Apples campaign is ear-catching, and radio is a cost-effective channel to further leverage the brand and reach consumers during their commute to work, school and the shops.
One burst of the Aussie Apples radio campaign ran late in 2018, with 754 spots across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. This led to some great results – in Sydney alone, 66 per cent of the target audience were exposed to the ad an average of 4.6 times. A further three weeks of radio were used to kick off the 2019 season, with 668 spots aired across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, which reached 3.8 million grocery buyers.
Outdoor media is a growing channel that is effective at driving mass awareness and capturing attention. To remind consumers to purchase apples when they are on the go, Aussie Apples panels were positioned across street furniture and buses in 2019, delivering almost 4.5 million opportunities to people to see apples messaging.
To act as a final reminder at the point of purchase, Get Your Crunch On ads also appeared outside of major retailers on shopping centre panels, with messages communicating convenience and versatility. These retail ads were seen more than five million times by consumers from April to June 2019.
Public relations (PR)
The PR strategy for Aussie Apples is about extending the reach of paid advertising and promotions to ‘earned’ coverage across traditional media, social media, and blogs. In 2018, the focus was on inspiring people to use apples for different snacking occasions and for cooking, and to educate consumers about health benefits. This involved a number of different activities:
- Hort Innovation engaged an influential nutritionist and health spokesperson, Dr Joanna McMillan, to review and communicate research results related to apples to a media audience. Dr McMillan wrote a press release on the benefits of eating apples with the skin on that was distributed to media and received coverage in popular titles including The Daily Mail and Babyology.
- The campaign worked with health and food social media ‘influencers’ to create compelling content on snacking, food trends and health. This content was shared through the influencers’ own channels to reach their engaged audiences, and was then pitched to traditional media outlets to drive wider coverage. The three influencers that partnered with Aussie Apples were Jessica Sepel, Leah Itsines and Amy Whiteford, who are primarily followed by millennials and mums, who are the target audience for marketing activities for the industry.
The PR campaign delivered 86 pieces of Aussie Apples coverage across print and digital, reaching more than 25 million people. Coverage highlights included Dr Joanna McMillan on SBS Food talking about the latest health research on apples, an Aussie Apples Waldorf salad promoted by Woman’s Day and news.com.au featuring the latest wellbeing research across their nationwide outlets.
Woolworths’ Awesome Apple Day
Once again, Aussie Apples and Woolworths joined forces for ‘Awesome Apple Day’ throughout all Woolworths stores nationally at the beginning of the apple season. For 2019, Hort Innovation sent Aussie Apples T-shirts and apple slicers to stores for Woolworths staff to use in providing samples of different varieties of apples to shoppers. The day helped to create consumer engagement at the beginning of the season and kept apples top of mind at the point of purchase.
The primary goal of the 2018/19 Australian Pears marketing campaign was to increase the number of households who buy pears – as well as how often they purchase them – by giving consumers the confidence to pick, ripen and use pears. This activity was about helping grow demand and increasing the value of the marketable harvest, key priorities as identified in the apple and pear industry’s Strategic Investment Plan.
The campaign provided education to consumers about pear ripening, different varieties and the health benefits of pears, as well as inspiring them to use pears in different meal occasions. The key target audiences identified were main grocery buyers between 25 to 54 years of age, with a particular focus on young ‘transitionals’ between 25 to 39 years, and families with kids under the age of 15.
Some key highlights for pear marketing in 2018/19:
- 60 per cent of respondents claimed they were likely or very likely to purchase pears in the next two weeks when surveyed across August to October 2018, up from 53 per cent in the same period last year.
- 86 per cent of consumers at the end of 2018 said they agreed that there are a variety of pears available, an improvement of eight per cent in three months alone.
- There was an increase in usage occasions of pears across breakfast, mid-morning, lunch and dinner/ dessert in 2018 compared to 2017.
Social media activity
Social media is a cost-efficient way to reach the public and also to ‘keep a finger on the pulse’ on how people are using pears, answer any questions they have, and give people an opportunity to simply share their love of pears. The role of social media in the Australian Pears campaign is to help remind shoppers and consumers of the benefits of pears through compelling content.
In 2018/19, the focus was on leveraging Facebook (www.facebook.com/australianpears) to keep pears top of mind, with one in two Australians using Facebook on a daily basis. In 2018, there was the launch of the Australian Pears Instagram channel (@australianpears), with one in three Australians using Instagram on a daily basis. Content was promoted across Facebook and Instagram to educate consumers about pear varieties and ripening indicators, tips for selection and ripening, along with delicious pear recipes to inspire consumers.
The campaign had positive results, delivering over six million impressions and 1.9 million engagements (likes and comments), exceeding the KPI of 1.5 million. Sentiment on Facebook was strong throughout the campaign, with the community sharing many comments on their love for pears and positively responding to educational content pieces such as ripening hacks.
Word of mouth remains an influential mechanism to target consumers, so in 2018/19 the Australian Pears marketing campaign partnered with TRIBE, an influencer platform, to connect with ‘micro-influencers’ who could share pear-related content with their audiences. This was an effective way to create content, increase audience reach, and grow the new Instagram account in a short amount of time. TRIBE influencers were asked to craft content that showed their audiences how to check for ripeness and how to ripen pears, and also created recipe content for Packham, Bosc and Corella varieties. Over the course of the campaign, 52 pear ripening content pieces were shared to a combined total of 1.3 million followers, providing nearly 36,000 engagements (likes and comments).
Australian Pears were featured in a double page spread by leading magazines Taste, Delicious and Super Food Ideas. The article talked to the different pear varieties, including their seasonality, flavour profiles, uses and ripening indicators.
Public relations (PR)
As with other elements of the campaign, the PR strategy for pears sought to inspire people to use pears for different occasions, and to educate consumers about ripening.
To deliver messages with impact, media drawcard and trusted voice Justine Schofield was secured as the campaign ambassador. The ex-MasterChef contestant and star of the TV show Everyday Gourmet provided her secrets for picking the perfect pear and insights on how to ripen pears for a media release. She created two recipes showcasing pears, which were professionally photographed for media use. To reinforce the selecting and ripening messages, a tip sheet was also created for media. These materials were shared to high-reaching outlets with a hamper containing all the ingredients to make Justine’s Grilled Pear and Haloumi Salad. TV coverage was successfully secured with a feature on Studio 10, where Justine demonstrated how to make her pear-centric salad.
A social influencer program was also undertaken as part of the PR activity to reach the target audience with educational messages about selecting pears. Rebecca Gawthorne (2017 Australian Pears ambassador) and Aussie food blogger Leah Itsines were commissioned to deliver education and usage inspiration using Instagram posts, as well as videos and time-bound ‘Instagram stories’ content. Combined, these two influencers have over 582,000 followers on Instagram.
In total, the PR campaign provided over 9.2 million opportunities for people to see Australian Pears content across traditional and social media, exceeding the KPI of five million opportunities to see.
Following strong results from in-store demonstrations in the previous year, a further 200 sampling sessions were conducted nationally across Woolworths and Coles in August and September 2018. The intent was to increase awareness of pears by keeping them top-of-mind at the point of purchase, to give consumers the confidence to choose ripe pears or ripen them at home, increase varietal awareness, and ultimately, to drive sales.
Major pear varieties were displayed in-store to demonstrate their difference in flavour, ripening and seasonality, and there was also sampling wedges of Packham pears. Leaflets were also handed out that contained information on ripening, different varieties, seasonality and recipe tips. Shoppers indicated that they were interested in learning about ripening techniques and different varieties, and found the leaflet informative. The positive consumer feedback also translated to sales – over the campaign, Woolworths saw an 11 per cent increase in sales (based on Quantium Data from sales in stores where sampling occurred versus the prior 13 weeks).
Under earlier work in the Hort Innovation Apple and Pear Fund program, key consumer insights were delivered. During 2018/19, this work was used in the development of the new marketing strategy for Australian Pears, to be implemented in 2019/20. The consumer research found that while pears were often overlooked, the majority of buyers still counted them among their favourite fruits and were quite open to buying them.
Repositioning pears as a ‘different’ and ‘inspirational’ choice to those who already buy lots of fruit, but less frequently pears, and tapping into their desire for fresh, healthy, sweet and in-season fruit, was identified as having the greatest potential to get pears back on shopping lists and into baskets.
Hort Innovation has developed a fresh, new logo for Australian Pears with this and other insights from the research in mind. The logo will appear throughout the upcoming marketing campaign, which will involve outdoor media such as shopping centre panels; digital media including YouTube; social media including Facebook and Instagram; PR; and more in-store sampling. A new website will also be launched to align with the new look and feel of Australian Pears.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Apple and Pear Fund