Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the citrus marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and consumption of the fruit, under the Hort Innovation Citrus Fund. Read on for a snapshot of activities and results from 2020/21, which focused on export markets.
Under the Taste Australia banner, 2020/21 saw a successful Australian citrus marketing campaign to help drive growth in four key export markets: China, Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines. Taste Australia is the whole-of-horticulture brand used to increase the profile, sales and consumption of premium Australian horticulture products in export markets. The citrus campaign included a variety of activities to drive timely awareness of the citrus season and consumption.
A record number in-store sampling sessions were held in China, promoting Australian navel oranges with 384 sessions in 23 City Super and Ole stores across the country. A total of 28.95 tonnes equating to a gross market value of $370,600 were sold throughout the promotion period.
Due to COVID-19, there was a decrease in foot traffic numbers compared to the previous season, which impacted the in-store retail program. However, the increase in online grocery shopping benefited the e-commerce promotion program across Hema Fresh and Pupu Chaoshi as seen by the strong results in each region (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Xiamen and Fuzhou). A total of 92.98 tonnes equating to a gross market value of $404,507 of Australian navel oranges was sold throughout the e-commerce promotions on both platforms. The ongoing support for e-commerce pioneers Hema Fresh year-on-year has strengthened the relationship and laid a good foundation for further partnerships in the future.
For the first time, an out of home advertising campaign was rolled out on a busy Guangzhou metro train, which reached more than 1,200,000 people. A livestream sales event took place via leading livestreaming platform Yizhibo and was hosted by a major Weibo key opinion leader (or influencer), 在路上-小词, who commands over 4,000,000 followers, the livestream contributed to sales of over 6.65 tonnes to a highly engaged audience.
Further social media promotional activities included engaging five Weibo key opinion leaders who posted unique and enticing content to a combined reach of over 9 million followers. A WeChat marketing campaign complemented the influencer activity. It included six educational and awareness articles about the provenance, taste and health benefits of Australian navel oranges, a competition, a pre-promotion article for to the livestream sales event and an article repurposing the content from the Weibo key opinion leaders.
In 2020/21, the retail sampling program was unable to proceed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the campaign commenced after Japan’s State of Emergency finished, there were still restrictions on businesses that continued. These restrictions limited visitation to supermarkets and put pressure on retailers to remove distractions in store to reduce dwell time, meaning point of sale materials were difficult to implement in lieu of sampling.
Great efforts were undertaken to overcome these challenges, including consultations with Austrade and other specialists in market, however timelines and business practices in Japan ultimately meant that alternatives couldn’t be arranged – and where there were possibilities, achieving outcomes and return on investment looked uncertain. As such, the focus pivoted to media, influencers and social to drive awareness of Australian oranges.
A media campaign drove awareness for the navel orange season, including health benefits and versatility in recipes, resulting in 34 pieces of coverage across general news, lifestyle, business, and parenting. Three of Japan’s most popular foodie influencers—Asu Chin, Ayu Jinja and Manami—were engaged to share recipes featuring Australian navel oranges across their Instagram accounts, which reached a total of 164,824 followers. The resulting posts were of an exceptionally high quality and drove strong engagement on the channels, achieving 7,599 engagements.
A brand partnership with popular YouTube video content channel Peaceful Cuisine resulted in the production of high-quality video content pieces featuring Australian navel oranges, Taste Australia branding and links directing viewers to Taste Australia’s Instagram and Facebook pages. Peaceful Cuisine’s videos earned a combined viewership of 249,968 and the Instagram posts earned combined engagements of 7410.
This year’s social media campaign across Taste Australia’s Japanese Facebook and Instagram accounts aimed to reach people at home. A total of 56 unique social posts reached 3,591,440 million and drove 1,496,071 engagements.
Overall, the 2020 citrus campaign in Vietnam saw a sell through of 30,814 tonnes of Australian navel oranges, highlighting the significant impact Australian citrus holds over Vietnamese consumers.
To drive awareness, refreshed point of sale materials were distributed to 95 stores in Vietnam including Big C, AEON and Klever Fruit who all actively participated in a competition to create the best display celebrating Australian citrus. This led to eye-catching and colourful displays where sampling had to be reduced.
The retail program included a gift with purchase option at Big C Garden Hanoi for customers who purchased 2kg or more of navel oranges. There were also 102 sampling sessions held across four retailers, which generated an additional 2,966kg of sell through for navel oranges.
A key opinion leader campaign, that included live streaming and product seeding, saw these influencers attending retailers to purchase Australian citrus was highly successful and drove 44,000 engagements. Meanwhile digital advertising on key Vietnamese mobile applications achieved 2,523,120 impressions, with targeting focused on 25-50-year-old consumers, in particular mums, living in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
A campaign was implemented across Taste Australia’s Vietnam Facebook and Instagram accounts to reach consumers on social media. The objective of the social media activity was to drive awareness and educate Vietnamese consumers about Australian navel oranges. A total of 40 unique social media posts were developed, resulting in a reach of 6,050,718 million and 5,631,043 engagements.
At the campaign’s commencement, the Philippines was under some of the strictest lockdown restrictions globally. Enforced to stay home and only leave for essential reasons, shopping was down, and customers moved online. Despite these challenges, there were opportunities – e-commerce, media and social, as well as the ability to position Australian navel oranges as a key ingredient in boosting the immune system.
A key component of the campaign in lieu of retail sampling was strong point of sale materials across retailers, including a display campaign that resulted in some very eye-catching visual displays in stores.
There was a strong digital and online element to the campaign, including use of an ambassador key opinion leader The Muhlach Family, which includes a popular chef who created a range of recipes that showcased Australian citrus across his social channels, reaching 131,169. Chef Muhlach also participated in a virtual media event, proving to be a drawcard for busy media.
This virtual media event included media, bloggers and stakeholders from across retailers and included an address by Citrus Australia representative David Daniels. Attendees were gifted a bespoke Taste Australia citrus box ahead of the media event. This activity resulted in 19 pieces of coverage running with a total reach of 1,319,535. Additionally, a gifting program saw 40 influencers promote Australian citrus on their social channels, with an overall reach of 7,712,786.
In addition to offline retail activities, e-commerce platforms were engaged, which saw retailers sharing taste Australia assets on their social platforms, generating 62,575 reach. As well as advertising, a gift with purchase was offered to e-commerce platforms in the form of a branded Taste Australia tote bag - an estimated 2,250 kgs were sold during the promotion.
To drive the awareness and education of citrus within this climate, a social media campaign was executed for Taste Australia’s Philippines Facebook and Instagram accounts to reach people at home. A total of 52 unique social posts resulted in a reach of 6,508,954 million and 4,021,102 engagements.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Citrus Fund