Tapping into the taste, ease, and versatility of Australian sweetpotato to boost sales
Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the sweetpotato 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 sweetpotatoes marketing campaign was focused on driving demand and addressing the decline in sweetpotato consumption.
A comprehensive review of the category and consistent industry feedback revealed that although Australians have a strong need for “good carbs” in their lives, sweetpotato has dropped out of their consideration. Consequently, consumers are not thinking about sweetpotatoes when purchasing, or they view them as pub food. There has been an opportunity to move away from the “better pub chip” and re-claim sweetpotatoes as the “good carb”, by cementing associations with contemporary food culture to increase demand.
Three big shifts were needed to drive demand:
- From “I think that all carbs are created equal” to “not all carbs are created equal , sweetpotatoes are “good carbs”. Strategic partnership to reclaim the “high ground” in carbs.
- From “I just don’t think about sweetpotatoes” to “sweetpotatoes come to mind easily, and I have lots of ideas about how to eat them”. Straight partnership to build prominence to drive consideration amongst more buyers, more often.
- From “white potato is what I notice in store as there’s so much choice now” to “sweetpotato seems to be popular again and there are new options to choose from”. Strategic partnership to convert consideration to purchase by winning in retail.
Reclaiming the “high ground” in carbs
To improve consumers’ perception of sweetpotatoes and demonstrate that they are not only a preferable choice but also easy to use, the program leveraged and reinforced sweetpotatoes’ distinctive qualities in terms of taste and appearance.
Consumer research revealed that people know sweetpotatoes are sweet and delicious, and no two are the same, which was beneficial to marketing the campaign. To leverage this insight “the crazy good king of carbs” creative campaign leans into sweetpotatoes’ unusual and distinctive taste and appearance, embracing its unique qualities.
The “crazy good king of carbs” idea was brought to life via a “Sweetpotato King” persona, that marketed this vegetable as vibrant and superior to other carbohydrates, by demonstrating the huge variety of healthy and tasty dishes it can be used in. Reclaiming its healthy image through advertising reminded audiences that Australian sweetpotatoes hold more value than being an unhealthy pub meal.
A creative testing research study showed that the new creative assets delivered a compelling message to engage consumers with Australian sweetpotatoes. The main messages the assets successfully conveyed was the “superior” (quality) of sweetpotatoes to other carbohydrates and its value in terms of versatility, taste and nutrition.
Retail out of home panels, transit advertising, social media posts and in-store displays at the point of sale were just some of the content that was used to support the campaign. This was complemented by an engaging drive-time radio campaign, that included a catchy song about sweetpotatoes to capture listeners’ attention. Here’s a taste of the radio ad...
“Behold the sweetpotato who rules over the land. Defeating simple carbs and meals that are quite bland.Baked and steamed and delicious when fried. Orange or red or purple inside. Majestic in soups and stews and pies. Rich in vitamins so give it a try.Australian sweetpotatoes. The crazy good king of carbs.”
To drive in-store inspiration and encourage shoppers to buy more sweetpotatoes, the Hort Innovation Customer Marketing Team worked with key retailers to generate in-store presence. Before entering the major supermarkets, shoppers would see the retail out of home panels featuring the “King of Carbs.”
Major activity in Woolworths included featuring the radio advertisement in-store, a series of magnetic strips near the sweetpotato to highlight taste and health benefits, and a “King of Carbs” display bin throughout July. In IGA stores, a staff display incentive was run, with prizes for stores that featured the best sweetpotato displays. IGA stores provided themed point of sale kits to decorate their stores, with display bins, shelf strips, posters, and recipe cards.
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.