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IRVINE, CA -- With baseball in post-season and both professional and college football in full swing, the Hass Avocado Board is implementing a game-day entertaining marketing campaign that encourages consumers to further incorporate Hass avocados into their game-day meals.

The effort aims to increase avocado sales during the fall time frame, when there is a strong supply of Hass avocados from multiple countries in the marketplace.

"HAB's targeted promotional efforts surrounding game-day entertaining during the fall time frame over the past few years have encouraged demand for Hass avocados amongst consumers at the retail level," Jose Luis Obregon, the board's managing director, said in an Oct. 20 press release. "This year's promotion is designed to extend the strong avocado category performance from last quarter, when retail avocado category dollar sales increased by nearly 11 percent vs. the same time frame the prior year, which is significant considering that the total fruit and vegetable category declined by almost 1 percent."

The Hass Avocado Board has tapped Chef Curtis Stone and former Major League Baseball All-Star Ryne Sandberg to serve as spokespeople for the program.

Chef Stone is the culinary advisor on NBC's "The Biggest Loser," host of TLC's "Take Home Chef" and author of multiple cookbooks. He has worked with the board to develop four avocado-centric recipes perfect for game-day entertaining that are being distributed to consumer media nationwide. He recently promoted Hass avocados as a delicious component of game-day menus in media interviews with 15 television outlets in top-tier markets throughout the country as part of a satellite media tour. Additionally, he will be featured in downloadable videos produced by the board that will be available on www.avocadocentral.com. In the videos, he will offer tips to consumers on working with avocados and demonstrate two of his specially created game-day recipes.

Major League Baseballs Mr. Sandberg also recently promoted Hass avocados as a key ingredient for game-day meals during interviews with 19 national and regional sports radio outlets as part of a radio media tour leading to the baseball playoffs.

On-line efforts are serving as a large component of the overall program, with a game-day entertaining micro-site featured on www.avocadocentral.com. The site serves as a resource for consumers planning their next game-day party, featuring Hass avocado recipe ideas and a game-day entertaining- themed sweepstakes, where visitors have a chance to win an LCD high-def television and home theater system so that they can watch the games in style.

Additionally, the board is conducting outreach to key foodservice media with a special mailing that includes Chef Stone's recently released cookbook, an avocado-centric foodservice recipe created by Mr. Stone and his tips for driving customers to foodservice locations during sporting events. Point-of- service materials and information about conducting foodservice game-day promotions also are available on the boards foodservice site at www.avocadocentral.com/foodservice.

The board's merchandising team will expand the promotional efforts at the retail level by offering game-day entertaining-themed point-of-purchase materials to retailers.

The overall game-day entertaining program also is in support of "The Big Hit," a joint multi-discipline marketing campaign focusing on encouraging Hass avocado consumption during the professional baseball playoffs, in which the Hass Avocado Board, the Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association and the Chilean Avocado Importers Association are all participating. The marketing effort marks the first promotional collaboration among these avocado marketing associations, all of which are part of the HAB organization.