Overseas consumers inspired by Australian citrus
Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the citrus marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and consideration. Here’s a quick look at some of the activities and achievements in 2021/22.
In 2021/22, the Taste Australia consumer marketing campaign for Australian citrus started at the end of July and finished at the end of October. The citrus campaign across China, Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam involved e-commerce and retail plans, key opinion leaders and influencer engagement, and promotional competitions hosted in-store and online in conjunction with ‘gift-with-purchase’ programs.
The strategic aim was to facilitate growth in priority markets by capitalising on niche windows of opportunity and quality consumer experience. In all four countries, the citrus market is highly competitive, and there is limited understanding of the difference between places of origin. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions and supply chain disruptions, the campaign faced several delays in the execution of different activities, both offline and online.
The initial plan for the campaign in Vietnam consisted of a retail plan including point-of-sale materials and instore competitions, key opinion leader activity, social media campaigns and e-commerce engagement. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the citrus campaign in Vietnam. Ongoing restrictions meant that the plan had to be changed multiple times, with a greater reliance placed on the digital strategy to adapt.
Highlights of the campaign in Vietnam included:
- A retail program across 97 stores, including catalogues, gifts with purchase and a discount program (Big C, AEON, Klever Fruits.)
- E-commerce engagement, including social posts on Foody Now, banner advertisements on Grab’s online platform and an e-voucher promotion on Chopp’s online platform.
- 15 key opinion leaders were engaged to promote the campaign through owned channels, the minigame competition and a live stream for Klever Fruits.
- 36 posts across Instagram and Facebook and three ‘minigames’ as a social competition to encourage consumers to buy Australian Navel Oranges and share them on social media to win prizes.
The citrus campaign in the Philippines focused on a mixture of in-store and online retail activities, key opinion content and media activity to generate a wide reach and drive sales. The campaign was impacted by ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns. This meant that many of the activities had to be adapted, with the original scope of work including a physical media and trade event to launch the campaign.
The list of e-commerce and in-store retail partners was also impacted due to shipping delays, congested ports, and pushing back start dates. For the influencer activity, two key opinion leaders were engaged to produce video content to be shared at the trade event and on their own social channels. Content featured creative recipe demonstrations that encouraged viewers to purchase Australian navel oranges and recreate the dishes at home with their families.
Highlights of the campaign in the Philippines included:
- In-store displays featured at Marketplace, Shopwise, Landers, Landmark (total of 129 stores) and GWP competition.
- E-commerce engagement, including online banners and featured pages (S&R Group, Go Robinsons Baytown Produce, AlwaysFresh and Dizon Farms.)
- Influencer activity such as video content created by Chef Luigi and Bentomommas to share Australian Navel Oranges recipes with their followers, highlighting the fruit as the best choice for Filipino families.
- A virtual trade and media event that pivoted to a digital format due to ongoing restrictions and featured speeches from Austrade, Citrus Australia, and Hort Innovation representatives, as well as popular Filipino media personalities and key opinion leaders. A post-event media release was distributed along with media kits containing fresh produce and gifts.
- 19 posts across Facebook and Instagram channels (August to October.)
In comparison to the other markets for citrus, Japan was the most stable, with the only significant change being to the timeline rather than the activities. The original scope of work outlined media activity, in-store displays, gifts with purchase program, social media, and key opinion leader engagement.
The initial plan was to run the in-store promotion in mid-September. However, due to the ongoing state of emergency, this activity was pushed to mid-October. AEON was selected as the sole partner for the citrus campaign, as it is the largest retailer in Japan.
A prominent influencer, Mai Matsumoto, was engaged to create video content to be shared on YouTube and Instagram. She created a video highlighting different recipes that can be made using Australian Navel Oranges. YouTube is the leading social media platform in Japan, while channels like Facebook are in decline among Japanese consumers.
Highlights of the campaign in Japan included:
- In-store displays across 50 AEON stores (with staff members for shoppers’ education.)
- A gifts with purchase program distributed over 3,500 tote bags.
- Trade press release distributed mid-October with 17 pieces of coverage secured with a potential reach of 131 million (131,829,688).
- Collaboration with Mai Matsumoto for YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter content. The Twitter content had over 193,000 impressions for Mai’s social media content.
- 30 Facebook and Instagram posts across 10 weeks (August to October).
The campaign focused on retail and digital activities to reach a wider audience, drive conversion and sales, and increase brand awareness via strategic partnerships. The initial scope of work included a live stream with a Chinese KOL from an orchard in Australia. However, due to the local government restrictions and ongoing lockdown, the activity was cancelled, and the budget was reallocated to an in-store display with retail partners.
Influencer collaborations ran concurrently with advertising on the e-commerce platform Hema Fresh. This facilitated the development of the Taste Australia brand and enabled the delivery of creative pieces of content, including new recipes and posts highlighting the versatility of Australian Navel Oranges.
Highlights of the campaign in China included:
- In-store display materials delivered at Ole and City Super, respectively, in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
- E-commerce engagement, including an online banner during ‘Mid-Autumn Festival’ and a featured page on Hema Fresh for the entire duration of the campaign.
- Cooking workshop and influencer engagement through collaboration with five influencers for a total view of 8.41 million and a total engagement of over 23,000.
- Social media support, including four articles to educate, inspire and reward loyal followers for over 4,400 views, and advertising banners on WeChat with 2.7 million total reach and influencer engagement across multiple platforms (Weibo, RED, Douyin) with a total of 12.8 million views.
The citrus campaign in 2021/22 was a success, despite ongoing challenges and changes to each market’s proposed strategy. The COVID-19 pandemic has had negative impacts, such as disrupted logistics, shipment delays and difficulties getting stock to stores, but it has also prompted countries to embrace digital channels, mainly e-commerce.
This has had a positive impact on the increase of e-commerce sales. For example, e-commerce in Vietnam is booming and a trend that can be capitalised on for upcoming campaigns. COVID-19 restrictions also forced in-store product sampling promotions to be dropped from most markets’ campaign strategies. This activity has been integral to campaign success in previous years and will be reintroduced in future years.
In 2021/22 the Hort Innovation Marketing function underwent a significant shift in their approach to investing marketing levies. You can read more about this in the 2021/22 Hort Innovation Company Annual Report at www.horticulture.com.au/annual-report-portal.