Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the sweetpotato marketing levy into a range of activities to drive frequency of purchase and consumption, under the Hort Innovation Sweetpotato Fund. Read on for a snapshot of activities and results from 2019/20.
The marketing program for 2019/20 kept sweetpotato top-of-mind for consumers throughout the campaign and had a focus on communicating the versatility of sweetpotato. This was achieved through the Australian Sweet Potatoes media campaign, sampling, social media and public relations.
The Australian Sweet Potatoes media campaign took place over April through to June 2020 with the aim of bringing sweetpotato to the front of consumers’ minds. The “supercharge your meals” messaging was continued and targeted grocery buyers (25-54 years old) with children (6-11 years old). The key areas targeted included Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
Impact of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic affected all Australians and the media landscape, coming into full effect just as the Australian Sweet Potatoes media campaign was to begin. Outdoor advertising (such as signage outside supermarkets) was greatly impacted as people were required to stay indoors as much as they could. As more people were spending time at home, they turned to other channels including TV, online video, and streaming radio.
The changing market conditions were considered when planning the campaign to ensure that Australian Sweet Potatoes advertising was delivered through the most relevant and effective channels to successfully drive consideration and inspiration for sweetpotato. In consultation with key industry representatives, the media plan was changed to include only digital advertising, including online video, radio, and a content partnership.
Interest in news, health and homecooking increased during the pandemic. To meet this rising consumer interest, Australian Sweet Potatoes produced new advertising that highlighted not only the delicious taste and versatility of sweetpotato, but the health benefits. The newly created Australian Sweet Potatoes health-skewed advertising was very relevant during the pandemic, showing how sweetpotato can support consumers’ immunity. To view an example of the advertising, please visit the Australian Sweet Potatoes YouTube channel here.
Video advertising to grocery buyers took place through major television online networks, including 7Plus, 9Now, 10Play and SBS On Demand. The top performing shows across the networks that delivered the majority of Australian Sweet Potatoes ad views included Lego Masters, MasterChef, and My Kitchen Rules. In addition, YouTube allowed Australian Sweet Potatoes advertising to further reach the target consumers and drive consideration of sweetpotato.
The online video advertising was successful and surpassed the key performance indicators (KPIs). The TV catch-up and YouTube activity delivered a total of 1.9 million opportunities for people to see the content, with strong viewability and completion rates.
Another way Australian Sweet Potatoes messaging reached the target consumers was radio advertising, including radio accessed digitally as well as traditionally. Popular radio channels from publishers NOVA and ARN and online versions of these channels were used, successfully meeting KPIs.
A partnership with influential media publisher Nine was established to create and publish a wealth of inspirational content across online channels. This content partnership enabled the Australian Sweet Potatoes campaign to respond quickly to evolving consumer needs during the pandemic with engaging content.
With consumers looking for recipes to create at home, Australian Sweet Potatoes inspired consumers with a wealth of bespoke sweetpotato recipes through 9Honey Kitchen. Three video recipes were created to show how consumers could create a variety of delicious sweetpotato foods, including Sweet Potato Chips, Guilt-free Choc Chip Muffins, and Sweet Potato Hummus. These recipes achieved 114,000 views on the page and were further shared through 9Honey Facebook.
Additionally, four articles with four new sweetpotato recipes were published on 9Honey Kitchen, achieving a reach of 28,000 viewers.
Two editorial articles were also produced, focusing on meal inspiration for parents: Quick and easy meal ideas for winter and 5 healthy snack ideas your kids will love. These articles exceeded the KPIs set and achieved 49,000 page views. Lastly, major targeted advertising (such as through digital banners and tiles on webpages) across two influential publishers, Nine and NewsCorp, was conducted and achieved an impressive 3.5 million impressions.
To encourage consumers to trial sweetpotatoes in a variety of meals, Australian Sweet Potato recipes were showcased through in-store sampling and sweetpotato ice-cream pop-up events.
Sweetpotato was sampled in 115 Coles nationwide from during July 2019, as part of Coles’ annual Spudtacular event. Although not technically a potato, sweetpotatoes are located with potatoes in store and needed to have a presence against their major competitor.
To demonstrate versatility of the vegetable, sweetpotato pizzas (sweetpotato base topped with cheese, basil and pepitas) were sampled in supermarkets at an Australian Sweet Potatoes-branded stand. Brand ambassadors in charge of the sampling engaged with consumers, communicating the benefits of sweetpotato and passing on a recipe leaflet to further inspire consumers at home. A total of 12,960 samples were consumed and an additional 6,010 shoppers were exposed to the brand.
Sweetpotato ice-cream pop-ups
To further engage consumers and illustrate the versatility of sweetpotato year-round, sweetpotato ice-cream pop-up events took place across popular beaches and shopping areas in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne in January and February 2020.
These events were very popular, with a lot of excitement around the innovative idea. Consumers enjoyed free sweetpotato ice-cream with their choice of a variety of toppings and then could sit under umbrellas or browse the wall of sweetpotato recipe leaflets to take home.
- Chatswood, NSW: 3,200 samples given out
- Bondi Beach, NSW: 2,300 samples given out
- Manly, NSW: 3,200 samples given out
- Surfers Paradise Foreshore, QLD: 5,000 samples given out
- Queen St Mall, QLD: 3,200 samples given out
- St Kilda Foreshore, VIC: 3,200 samples given out.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS (PR)
Australian Sweet Potatoes social media activity occurred throughout the year, with ongoing posting through Facebook (www.facebook.com/australiansweetpotatoes) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/australiansweetpotatoes) to remind and inspire audiences with sweetpotato usage ideas. With the onset of COVID-19, health messages were integrated into captions to remind how sweetpotato can support immunity and overall health.
Thirteen new sweetpotato recipes were created and photographed in December 2019 to share with Australian Sweet Potatoes social media followers and website viewers. The recipes were created to show the versatility of sweetpotato, suitable in both sweet and savoury meals across different meal occasions.
To reach the social media target of millennial mums, a partnership with social media influencer and mum Magdalena Roze was formed. Magdalena was taken to a sweetpotato farm in Cudgen to meet growers and learn about the growing process, giving her greater appreciation for the vegetable. During the visit, photography was taken to share her experience in her own and Australian Sweet Potatoes social media channels. Magdalena subsequently created five new recipes positioning sweetpotatoes for all occasions, which were amplified to her 44,600 followers.
Magdalena’s sweetpotato recipes and sweetpotato facts were pitched to the media, and as a result achieved 35 pieces of media coverage across major news sources, such as Woman’s Day, Body & Soul, and Kidspot.
In summary, social media and PR activities were successful, generating 26.2 million opportunities for people to see the sweetpotato-inspired content. This was achieved through 47 pieces of media coverage across traditional and social media, celebrating the taste, versatility, and health of sweetpotato.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Sweetpotato Fund