Commission’s Customized Retail Influencer Programs Garner 6.8 Million Impressions
With California avocado season in full swing, the California Avocado Commission (CAC) had to swiftly reinvent traditional in-store retail promotions for its targeted retail customers by crafting customized digital opportunities that allowed retailers to engage with shoppers whose lifestyles were curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. CAC’s Retail Marketing Directors (RMDs) nimbly pivoted away from in-store demos and sampling programs to innovative digital events and campaigns that leveraged the communications power of third-party advocates. The multi-faceted program provided retailers with customized social media campaigns, Facebook Live events, virtual recipe demonstrations, custom assets with California Avocados brand identification, sweepstakes and giveaways, regional television segments, and recipes featured in retailer magazines, on websites and social platforms.
The Commission made a concerted effort to coordinate its customized programs with retailer staff members — retail dietitians, magazine editors and social media managers — throughout June, July and August. To reach Northern California markets, CAC partnered with Albertsons to host two online recipe demos as Facebook Live events on the chain’s social channel during California Avocado Month. Albertsons’ Corporate Dietitian demonstrated how to prepare two summer-friendly recipes — California Avocado Flatbread and California Avocado Caprese Burger — and showcased the versatility of the fruit. Manuel Villacorta, MS, RDN — one of CAC’s Living Well Brand Advocates — also served as an Albertsons-Safeway Registered Dietitian (RD). He pre-promoted his Facebook Live recipe demonstration on his social channels and then shared the Albertsons video to his own Facebook and YouTube channels. Together the two Facebook Live demos earned more than 750,000 impressions.
In partnership with the Commission, Hy-Vee launched a completely online program for its 70 RDs with a segment on Hy-Vee’s HSTV “Substitute Teacher.” The program, which premiered just prior to the 4th of July weekend, featured a recipe demonstration of Patriotic California Avocado Potato Salad. The video showcased how easily California avocados could serve as a fat replacement for mayonnaise in this summertime holiday favorite. To help the RDs share engaging and informative content on their social channels, the Commission provided the RDs with nutritional information about the fruit and another recipe — Heart Shaped California Avocado Brownies — featuring California avocados as a fat substitute. The RDs also received California avocado labels and a California avocado cutter to use when creating their own social video content. Each Hy-Vee RD posted 2 – 3 times throughout July on their own Facebook and Instagram pages, with posts ranging from “Dietitian Pick of the Month” and virtual classes to pre-recorded videos and photos featuring California avocados. In total, the program netted more than 200 RD social media activations and four Hy-Vee Retail RDs were invited to appear on local market TV segments to share California avocado recipes and the benefits of enjoying the fruit during its peak season.
Kroger featured its Eggs-traordinary California Avocado Breakfast Muffins recipe in the digital and print versions of its Live Naturally magazine. The digital version of the article included live links to the Commission’s consumer website homepage, recipe page and “how to choose and use” page. The article was featured in all of Kroger’s division magazines — with 12 divisions and 1,400+ stores — reaching a total circulation of 650,000. The LiveNaturallyMagazine.com, which also featured the piece, reported monthly traffic of 92,000.
Save Mart Supermarkets celebrated with a National Avocado Day weekly flyer in which the chain promoted “close to home” California avocados. This Central California retailer also provided a profile of Scott Van Der Kar, a local California avocado grower, in a weekly circular that has a distribution of 4.7 million and on digital channels that secured another 10,400 impressions.
In total, CAC’s customized retail influencer programs secured more than 6.8 million impressions to date. By leveraging the digital platforms of third-party advocates and the retail chains, the Commission was able to provide key California avocado messaging, recipes, usage tips and versatility ideas to a broad audience. Ultimately, the multi-faceted program was able to reach consumers at point-of-sale, via mailers, on retailer websites, social media platforms and television — engaging with consumers at multiple touch points and encouraging sales of the fruit during peak season.