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 2020/21, for both the domestic and export marketing campaigns.
2020/21 saw the launch of a new brand campaign in the domestic market to grow category value by engaging consumers with better quality Aussie apples. Key activities included a merchandising and quality monitoring program and a category segmentation and shopper program to strengthen preference for Aussie apples and contribute to driving consideration and consumption.
The Aussie Apples new domestic marketing campaign ran from April through to August 2021. One of the key challenges facing the apples category is that consumers are slowly losing interest in apples as apple’s share of voice in the snacking landscape is diminishing. The objective of the campaign was to reconnect Aussie consumers with their love for apples as the preferred healthy snack of choice.
The fully integrated campaign targeted main grocery buyers aged 25 to 54 years old across multiple consumer touchpoints including TV, digital videos (including broadcast video on demand and YouTube), outdoor and retail advertising, retailer media, public relations and social media. Within social and YouTube channels, targeting measures were used to engage the bullseye target audience of pragmatic foodies and healthy snackers.
The new brand communication message and creative idea was developed to position Aussie Apples as the revitalising natural snack that gives you a mind and body boost to get back on track. To support this brand proposition, a new campaign line of ‘Hit Refresh’ was used to remind consumers to choose an Aussie apple every time they need to ‘Hit Refresh’ in their day.
Merchandising and quality monitoring program
A merchandising and quality monitoring program was undertaken to help deliver a quality consumer experience and to coincide with the brand communication campaign. The program ran from May through to July for eight weeks nationally across 300 stores in NSW, VIC, QLD, SA and WA. Each selected major retail store was visited twice a week to monitor, educate and report on instore apple product and displays with the aim to enhance the instore experience and quality of presentation. Weekly reports including a photo gallery of all store displays were provided back to the retailer to address any quality issues.
TV is an important channel for Aussie Apples to reach the target audience at scale and drive mass awareness. The Aussie Apples television activity was live in market from April to July 2021 in 30-second and 15-second advertisements on both the Seven and Ten networks and featured in programming such as Big Brother, Dancing with the Stars, Sunrise, The Project and 10 News.
The Australian Apples television campaign reached 1.79 million Grocery Buyers between the ages of 25 and 54 at least once. The average metropolitan viewer saw the campaign an average of 6.77 times.
Out of home
To extend reach and reinforce key campaign messages with consumers on their path to purchase journey, Aussie Apples used digital and static creatives across out of home advertisements. This included outdoor advertising (e.g. billboards), and street furniture (e.g. bus shelters) in high traffic areas. Retail out of home advertising with close proximity to supermarkets helped reach shoppers on their way to their grocery shop and remind them to pick up apples in store. Out of home advertising included large format billboard displays of 104 panels, retail shopping centres included 1,466 retail panels, and 1084 panels across street advertising displays.
To extend the reach of television to lighter television viewers and build reach and frequency of key messages with consumers, the Aussie Apples 15 and 6 second advertisements featured across both BVOD (Broadcaster Video on demand/catch up television) and YouTube advertisements. This activity allowed Aussie Apples to reach over two million people at an average frequency of 1.3 times. Total video completed views were at 98 per cent above industry benchmark of 95 per cent which indicates that the audience is highly engaged in the ‘Hit Refresh’ messaging.
Across YouTube, the campaign delivered 1.8 million completed views of the apple brand advertising and was claimed by consumers to be the second highest digital platform for brand advertising recall following TV, indicating this channel is highly effective in reaching the target audience.
To reconnect consumers with their love for apples as the preferred snack of choice, the 2020 Snack Report was conducted on Aussies to understand their current snacking habits and how Aussies are keen to ‘Hit Refresh’ on bad snacking habits during lockdown.
- 50 per cent of Aussies admit to snacking more than usual during lockdown.
- One year on, 73 per cent of Aussies want to hit refresh on their snacking habits and are willing to look to fresh fruit options.
TV presenter Beau Ryan is leading the charge, embarking on a Snack Swap Challenge, swapping an unhealthy snack with an Aussie Apple. The snack swap challenge had Beau hitting refresh on his snacking habits by swapping in an Aussie Apple for a mind and body boost. This activity has been amplified across media channels through media pitching to key outlets such as news.com.au, Nine, Seven and Ten News, The Daily Telegraph, Women’s Health and more, as well as amplifying across social media.
In addition to this, Aussie Apples have partnered with PhD Habit Scientist and Dietician Dr. Gina Cleo to amplify key messages around the benefit of apples and to share snacking recipes, advice, tips and tricks.
The public relations campaign delivered media coverage of over 47 million opportunities to see the content with 59 media hits excluding syndications. Overall brand sentiment among media coverage was 100 per cent positive with 97 per cent media coverage including any apple branded asset.
On the Aussie Apples Facebook (www.facebook.com/Aussieapples) and Instagram (@aussieapples) pages, consumers were engaged and inspired to choose apples as their preferred healthy snack through posts connecting apples to snacking triggers and occasions, while demonstrating how apples refresh the body and mind. The content included both short videos and static images through an ‘always on’ approach to ensure Aussie Apples remain top of mind.
The Aussie Apples social media campaign reach over four million people during the three-month campaign across Facebook and Instagram. Recipe content resonated well with the main ‘Grocery Buyer’ audience, and simple seasonal recipes particularly drove great engagement across both platforms as well as driving traffic to the Aussie Apples website meaning that the ‘Hit Refresh’ message is resonating with our target audiences.
To support the launch of the campaign on social media, a consumer competition was conducted. Aussies were asked to tag a someone who is in a bit of a slump and in desperate need to ‘Hit Refresh’, with a chance to win a $500 voucher. Some fantastic entries were received, with over 200 tags across Facebook and Instagram.
To target shoppers right before they go into store and while they are in store, the Aussie Apples campaign targeted shoppers across various retailer media channels such as retail magazines, digital front of store screens and across retailer online shopping websites to remind consumers to purchase apples when they are planning their shop and whilst in store.
In early July 2021, research was conducted to understand how the Aussie Apples brand campaign was performing to gain an initial understanding of how consumers were reacting to the new creative.
The research found that the campaign is tracking well after launch in market since May 2021 with 29 per cent of Australians recalling the ‘Hit Refresh’ campaign when prompted with the campaign branded visuals. TV is the primary driver of campaign recall with 70 per cent of those who recalled the campaign claiming that they have seen on TV, followed by recall of the Apple campaign across digital (34 per cent) and out of home (27 per cent).
The entire apple brand campaign performed above average on driving positive sentiment, enjoyment and relevance, with 51 per cent said it gave them a better opinion of Australian apples. 60 per cent said the campaign was enjoyable and 53 per cent said the campaign was relevant to them.
The results indicated positive shifts in perceptions of apples, notably for healthy and convenience, however, there is opportunity to drive more associations against other drivers of snacking including taste and range. For all those that have seen the campaign, 53 per cent of respondents agreed they would be more likely to purchase Australian Apples indicating a potential to increase purchase intent for Aussie apples as a result of being exposed to the brand campaign.
The pear marketing program aimed to transform the relevance and connection that consumers have with pears, as they are often the forgotten fruit with only 60 per cent of Aussies eating pears through the year.
The new campaign objective was to drive consideration and preference for eating pears as a regular, staple fruit snack by making pears stand for something new and desirable to capture attention via a new creative platform that is interesting and unforgettable. With Aussie consumers often underestimating just how good pears are for their health. The new campaign positions pears as a healthy, tasty snack that is unexpectedly good for you, with the key campaign line ‘Good Things Come in Pears’.
The campaign was supported across high reaching media channels and included out of home advertising, public relations including an ambassador partnership, digital channels including catch up TV and YouTube. Social media was leveraged as an always-on channel to drive further awareness and engagement with pears.
Out of home
Outdoor advertising was a key media channel to launch the campaign and get the target audience to see the campaign message. The role of the channel was to make Australian Pears brand messaging highly visible with a simple and engaging message and included a mix of large format roadside advertisements as well as retail out of home displays to reach consumers heading to the store.
More and more consumers are now viewing catch up TV with an increase of BVOD (Broadcaster Video on demand) viewers by 30 per cent over the past year. To reach the target audience on traditional media channels, three 15-second brand videos featuring different pear varieties were launched to highlight the key benefits of pears in a distinctive way to cut through in the digital environment. Across 7plus and 10play, a total of 1 million completed views at a view completion rate of 98 per cent were achieved reaching over 513,000 viewers.
YouTube was used to drive incremental views reaching over 517,000 viewers so far to the month of July. The total digital campaign aimed to reach over three million impressions (opportunities to see the content) of the pears brand advertising.
To support the campaign messages, Australian Pears conducted a healthy study focusing on one of the most popular health focus of gut health and how pears can be the feel-good fruit, packed with fibre but also delicious way to support a healthy gut and general wellbeing.
To amplify the campaign message, Australian Pears team up with some of the nation’s most loved nutritionists and celebrity personalities and create a campaign targeted at our healthy foodies, 25-54 year olds, health conscious and heavy fruit buyers. Key facts from the consumer survey were pitched to media lead by third party health expert, Dr Joanna McMillan and a lead talent spokesperson, Melissa Leong, one of MasterChef’s judges.
The public relations campaign reached 27.6 million people from end of April to the end of June. This included 14 media hits with 100 per cent positive brand sentiment and asset inclusions suggesting that the campaign drove positive brand sentiment and perception for Australian pears.
The Australian Pears social media campaign, which was live from March to June, showcased the nutritional benefits of pears and educated consumers on how to pick the right pear. Through an ‘always on’ approach, content was developed to showcase the nutritional and gut health potential of pears, as well as content that educated and prompted audiences to pick the right pear for them and reinforce the taste credentials through snacking inspiration.
Between March and June, the Australian Pears Facebook and Instagram pages reached over 1.1 million people. Content that called out the health benefits of pears with helpful tips performed well. Simple snacking content receives positive engagement indicating that displays quick and simple serves increase the utility of pears and drives intent to purchase.
To target shoppers right before they go into store and while they are in store, the Australian Pears advertising targeted shoppers across various retailer media channels such as retail magazines, digital front of store screens and across retailer online shopping websites to remind consumers to purchase pears when they are planning their shop and whilst in store.
In March, Australian Pears featured in the Harris Farm magazine with a full-page advertorial promoting a seasonal recipe to their foodie shopper audience under the ‘Good Things come in pears’ campaign messaging. Shoppers at Woolworths were greeted with high impact display screens featuring key pears messaging across the month of June. Coles shoppers were targeted during the planning stage of their shopping journey with a feature in the Coles magazine and through online branded features though coles.com. In working with Metcash stores nationally, a retailer incentive program was developed to drive conversion in store, with new Point of Sale Material developed to engage shoppers, which runs until the end of August, to support peak volume in market.
The 2021 export season for apples and pears is supported by the Taste Australia retail program, now in its second year in market. This year the program will focus on Thailand and Indonesia as strategic priority markets to capitalise on niche supply windows of opportunity. The program drove awareness, consideration and education about Australian apples and pears with consumers across these markets.
The marketing program will focus on a digital marketing campaign including social media, influencers, key opinion leaders (influencers) and paid media to drive awareness when Australian products are in market and support local retailers and importers across key export period of August to October 2021.
In Thailand, the program will focus on a retailer digital communication to instore shoppers across two major retailers, TOPS and Makro with an integrated campaign to drive reach and conversion to purchase. Social media will help educate consumers by emphasising the key message through social media channels and drive awareness. Local influencers and key opinion leaders will further amplify the campaign and drive advocacy and engagement with the aim to build product credibility and drive demand.
In Indonesia, Australia pears will be supported through a retail digital campaign with the retailer AEON with an integrated campaign to increase awareness and help drive conversion instore. Social media and influencers will further amplify key brand messages on Australian pears to build credibility and quality brand credentials with local consumers and retailers.
With expectations of a bumper harvest Hort Innovation has provided cooperative funding support to Fruit Growers Victoria to promote Australian pears in the key export markets of New Zealand and Singapore from early June to October 2021. These two markets accounted for almost 50 per cent of Australian pear exports in 2020.
The campaign is being anchored in both markets with an 8-week digital and social media program from mid-June to mid-August targeting main grocery buyers in both markets. The strategy is focused on providing consumers creative ways to consume Australian pears using recipe ideas across salads, desserts and snacks. Once the mouthwatering advertising reaches the consumers on various social media sites in New Zealand and Singapore the consumers can click through the Australian Pears website that provides details for the recipes plus a large array of nutrition and variety information.
Point of Sale cards have also been printed for retailers to promote Australian pears in store. A set of 3 cards feature different recipes with a QR Code for consumers to scan to take them to the Australian Pear recipe landing page for more details.
In New Zealand there has been further cooperation with Countdown supermarkets providing Point of Sale wobblers to all stores and digital banners promoting Australian pears on their consumer website.
Hort Innovation also supported Australian pears being promoted in Western Canada where Australian pears have recorded 20 per cent increase in trade in the 2021 season and was the leading supplier of southern season pears into British Columbia in the first 5 months of 2021 according to Government of Canada statistics.
Australia exported a total 8,500 tonnes of pears in 12 months to May 2021 worth A$13.8 million and is on track to exceed 10,000 tonnes exported for the 2021 calendar year, a 20 per cent year on year increase.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Apple and Pear Fund