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Marketing snapshot - Hortlink 2017, edition 1

Publication date: 27 February 2017

This Hort Innovation Banana Fund marketing snapshot has been taken from Hort Innovation’s Hortlink 2017, edition 1

The industry’s marketing levy supports a range of ongoing activity to drive awareness and increase banana consumption.

Social media

Across Facebook ( and Instagram (@australianbananas), the social media program continues to have a focus on four key ‘pillars’ of messaging content: fun fruit, energy/nutrition, a-peeling snacks and the growers behind the produce.

During November 2016, all key social media metrics for Australian Bananas (including engagement with audience, the number of people reached, and total impressions) exceeded those from all previous months on record. December improved again on these results, increasing maximum engagement with social media audiences by a solid 10 per cent, from 26 per cent to 36 per cent total.

While January 2017 data was still being analysed at the time of writing, there were a number of strong points of engagement between consumers and Australian Bananas messaging during the month. On January 17, for example, the Facebook page capitalised on a popular ‘meme’ (a rapidly-circulating internet phenomenon, in this case a clip of a man, dubbed ‘Salt Bae’ exuberantly sprinkling salt onto steak). Changing the meme from ‘Salt Bae’ to ‘Banana Bae’, the clip showed the man sprinkling sliced banana over an implied breakfast instead. The audience response was strong – the post reached over 700,000 people and the clip was viewed over 442,000 times. The post also drew close to 2000 ‘likes’, had 190 shares and over 590 people took time out their day to leave a comments, engaging with the Australian Bananas brand.

Other top-performing posts in January included a banana smoothie recipe video involving Charles, a fifth-generation banana farmer, on Australia Day.

Australian Bananas merchandise

The Australian Bananas brand has a host of bright, branded merchandise that has been well represented over the last three months.

Through this merchandise, Australian Bananas even made it all the way down to Antarctica towards the end of 2016, thanks to Thomas Bauer, an Antarctic tour guide who expressed interest in promoting the fruit.

In early January this year, 13 Tully school kids represented Far North Queensland in the Brisbane International Tennis Schools Challenge, which included playing an exhibition match on the Pat Rafter Arena at the Queensland Tennis Centre. They were great representatives for Australian Bananas in their yellow banana shirts during the event.

Australian Bananas events

In recent months, Australian Bananas sponsored and/or supplied merchandise to the below events:

  • Amy’s Ride, held in Adelaide on November 6, 2016. Australian Bananas provided bananas for the nearly 2000 cyclists that took part in the event, which was raising funds for the Amy Gillett Foundation – a national organisation with a mission to reduce the incidence of serious injury and death of bike riders in Australia.
  • The JP Morgan Corporate Challenge, held in Sydney on November 9, 2016. Australian Bananas provided bananas for this team race event in Centennial Park, which had the largest number of registered runners JPMCC Sydney has ever had at just over 8500 people signing up.
  • The Gatorade Triathlon Series, with five events held from November 2016 to March 2017 in Victoria. Again, Australian bananas were handed out to competitors at the finish line.
  • The Nambucca Banana Hurl, held in conjunction with New South Wales’ running even the Macksville Gift in November 2016. The banana hurl involved participants seeing how far they could throw a banana, with Australian Bananas sponsoring the event and also supplying banana-branded merchandise.
  • The Aron Price Junior Golf Tournament, held on January 22 this year at Kereela Golf Course in New South Wales. More than 60 young players took part, with Australian Bananas providing drink bottles for competitors, and hats and shirts for event volunteers.
  • The Tumby Bay Family Mission kids’ holiday program, which is held for a week every January in South Australia. For 2017 the theme was ‘Going Bananas’, with around 120 children aged from five to 16 attending each day. Australian Bananas supplied the kids with pencil cases and bottles.

PR activity

As reported in the last edition of Hortlink, the Australian Bananas PR strategy for 2016/17 has a focus on young families and people aged 25-39, encouraging them to snack on the fruit more frequently. Key objectives of the campaign are to:

  • Build awareness of the health and nutrition benefits of bananas
  • Maintain bananas as the country’s top snack food
  • Encourage parents to include bananas in their families’ diets
  • Drive regularity of consumption.

The PR campaign also involves an always-on, reactive press office. This means all mentions of bananas in traditional and social media channels are monitored and responded to accordingly. From the start of this financial year in July to January this year, 92 pieces of coverage have so far been achieved across print, online, television and social media, generating a total audience reach of 6,569,048 people and a social media reach of 1,432,389.

Australian Bananas ambassadors

As part of the industry’s PR activity, Australian Bananas ambassador Susie Burrell, a leading dietitian, has continued to develop content and post about bananas on her popular blog and social media accounts. As of December, Susie had posted content featuring bananas to her Instagram page six times and to her Facebook page eight times. With an average monthly reach of over 722,000 people on her website, her latest blog post entitled The best foods to eat for training was published during January, with bananas featured prominently.

The Australian Bananas events ambassador is Melbourne Storm rugby league player Billy Slater. He’s also been posting about his love of bananas on social media, with his posts in November 2016 and January this year having combined ‘likes, comments, shares’ of over 15,200. A banana split video he posted has alone has been viewed over 43,000 times.

New and upcoming activity

Television advertising

Early this year there will be two heavy bursts of TV advertising for Australian Bananas. The first burst began on February 19 and will run into March, aligned with key programming including My Kitchen Rules, Married At First Sight, 800 Words and the revamped Biggest Loser series. It also times well with the back-to-school period. The second burst is scheduled for April and May.

Metro advertising is running in all major cities across major networks Seven, Nine and Ten, and the regional buy will have the same heavyweight exposure in all major regional areas. The television investment will also reach the national pay TV audiences, with pay TV now penetrating into 30 per cent of Australian households.

Out of home advertising

Bus, train and retail out-of-home advertising will form the backbone of on-the-ground and point-of-sale communications around Australian Bananas. Beginning on February 19 and running until May 14 this year, the retail activity will be in-market for the longest duration and feature digital poster panels. The majority of these will appear right in front of supermarkets in shopping centres, as a last reminder point for consumers entering Coles, Woolworths and Aldi stores. Other panels will appear throughout the shopping centres to drive audience reach, frequency and awareness for those people not necessarily out shopping for groceries. There will be a total of 570 digital panels, with all activity time targeted to appear during key snacking times (mid-morning and afternoon) and high footfall periods.

The transit advertising will drive banana awareness in other highly visible out-of-home environments centred around key public transport routes. Bus activity is running from February 19 to the week of April 9 (with a high chance of bonus activity). Panels will feature on bus sides and backs in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, with 235 panels in total.

Train activity is running from February 26 to the week of May 21 (also with a high chance of bonus activity) in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Online advertising (desktop, tablet and mobile)

The online investment across the campaign will be a two-fold job to:

  • Extend the visibility of the TV advertising content to audiences across highly visited online environments, such as premium catch-up TV services, to drive high-reaching awareness
  • Deliver Australian Bananas campaign messages through mobile phone banner ads, to ensure the messaging stands out from the advertising clutter and provides the campaign’s core audience with a fun and highly engaging content.

Social media ‘influencers’

Outside of the ‘always on’ Facebook and Instagram activity described above, Australian Bananas will also harness the power of key social media influencers in the food, parenting and sports categories. These influencers will post images of themselves enjoying bananas on their own social media platforms, with activity running for two months from the end of February.

Bounty Bags for new families

The Bounty New Mother bags reach women with new babies. Distributed through hospitals nationally by midwives and Bounty representatives, the bags reach 76 per cent of new mothers around Australia. Starting in February, an Australian Bananas banana case will be included in the bag and distributed to 228,000 new mothers over a 12-month period. There will also be a leaflet within the case extolling the benefits of bananas as both a baby’s first food and an ideal snack for busy mothers.

Feast of the Senses and a Guinness World Record

The 2017 Feast of the Senses festival will be held in Innisfail, Queensland, from March 23 to 28. This year, organisers are attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the longest banana split, which has stood since 1988. There will be an expected 8000 people attempting to make an 8km banana split, with each of the helpers decked out in an Australian Bananas cap.


These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Banana Fund