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Growers make it personal with California avocado marketing

by | August 22, 2010
IRVINE, CA -- "Authenticity" has long been a watchword of the California Avocado Commission, and never more than with the inception of the California avocado grower marketing campaign.

This season, California avocado growers have elevated their level of involvement in the consumer campaign by making personal appearances at retailer events and by interacting with consumers as well as the media to create personalized marketing experiences.

"Grower appearances at consumer events provide important opportunities to bring the campaign to life and complement our traditional advertising with marketing that puts the growers face to face with media influencers and consumers," Jan DeLyser, the commission's vice president of marketing, said in an Aug. 19 press release.

Recently California avocado grower Gene Bianchi guided radio personality and restaurateur Evan Kleiman on a tour of his avocado grove, Bianchi Farms in De Luz. Ms. Kleiman broadcast her interview and talked about her California avocado experience on the popular show "Good Food" on KCRW, Southern California's largest National Public Radio affiliate.

Valley Center avocado growers Mike Sanders and Chris Ambuul also contributed to the personalized marketing campaign by serving as judges for the commission's Best Guacamole contest and taking guest food bloggers on a tour of their groves. The bloggers then created a video about the tour, which can be seen at travelers/california-avocado-story/.

California avocado growers have also supported retailer activities that help market the fruit. A major national retailer that has developed an innovative locally grown initiative invited California avocado growers to participate at "mini farmers market" events to interact with shoppers, promoting the availability of locally grown produce at some of its stores. Growers Jamie Johnson and Matt Witman talked with the chain's customers, sharing how California avocados are grown and providing tips for selecting, handling and using the fruit.

"The messages of 'hand grown in California,' 'locally grown' or 'grown in the USA' can be very powerful tools for avocado retailers," Ms. DeLyser said in the release. "Sixty-one percent of shoppers ages 25 and older say that it is important that the avocados they buy are grown in the United States."

The commission also provides retailers with information about California avocado growers, helping them tell the story of how the avocados they sell are produced, and by whom. The commission supplies recipe cards, usage tips and signage customized for in-store promotions and retailer special events. Retailer cooking schools on both coasts have featured recipes and tips created by California avocado growers, with a chain in the Midwest producing a video instructing class attendees how to select, handle and ripen California avocados.