||Fruit Marketers Go Bananas For Partnerships
Rightsholders Should Track Sales Trends to Identify Categories That Need Marketing Help
Declining consumption of bananas is promoting new sponsorship and promotional activity from the major marketers of the tropical fruit.
Dole Fresh Fruit Co. recently signed an estimated seven-figure tie with Six Flags Entertainment Corp., while Chiquita Brands Int'l, Inc. has a tie-in with the recently released Rio, the 3D-animated children's movie from Twentieth Century Fox.
The movie promotion builds on recent sponsorships from Chiquita. The company last year took title of two Nationwide Tour pro golf events: the inaugural Chiquita Classic in Cincinnati and the Fresh Express Classic in Hayward, Calif., the latter promoting the company's brand of bagged ready-to-eat salads.
Although both Dole and Chiquita are using their partnerships to tout multiple fruit and vegetable offerings, promoting their primary product—bananas—lies at the heart of many of their current deals.
That's because the two food giants are trying to reverse a decline in U.S. banana consumption. Per capita consumption of bananas declined from 26.8 pounds in 2002 to 24.7 pounds in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service.
For its part, Dole is taking a two-pronged approach to turning the tide, promoting both the health benefits of bananas and persuading consumers to consider new ways of eating the fruit.
For example on the second front, Dole is using its Six Flags partnership to support Go Bananas After Dark, a year-old marketing platform designed to increase the average purchase size of bananas by promoting consumption in the evening.
"Americans love bananas in their cereal, and as a lunchtime staple and afternoon snack; we want to introduce consumers to bananas in other ways and other times after the sun goes down, either for dinner, on the grill or as a healthy after-dinner treat," said Bil Goldfield, Dole Fresh Fruit's communications manager.
As part of the sponsorship, Six Flags is adding a grilled banana dessert to the menu at 10 of its 19 parks. "We are hoping it will be a great introduction and demonstration of how easy and delicious bananas on the grill can be," Goldfield said.
Dole will further activate the tie at Six Flags parks in St. Louis and Montreal with Coasters After Dark, a promotion offering visitors the opportunity to stay in the park for one hour after general closing. The company plans to offer extended-stay passes to consumers who show proof of purchase, said David McKillips, Six Flags' senior vice president of corporate alliances and partnership marketing.
The Six Flags deal replaces last year's partnership on behalf of Go Bananas After Dark with the Char-Broil Infrared Grilling Tour, a mobile marketing program that visited Kansas City's Great American Barbecue Festival and other barbecue events.
David Bright, vice president of marketing, spearheads Dole Fresh Fruit's sponsorship activity. Dole Fresh Fruit Co. is the largest division of Dole Food Co. The other two divisions are Dole Packaged Foods, LLC and Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc.
Chiquita Leverages Movie On Product And Online
In addition to bananas, Chiquita is activating its Rio tie-in to promote avocados, pineapples and other products.
The crux of the promotion: An online sweepstakes dangling prizes including ringtones, film merchandise, a one-year supply of Chiquita products and a trip to Rio de Janeiro. The progressive sweepstakes incorporates collecting virtual badges based on how often consumers visit and interact with the Web site.
"We've built an interactive playground for our consumer families to have fun, explore the movie Rio, and earn samples of our delicious and nutritious Chiquita-branded products," said Tanios Viviani, Chiquita's president of global innovation and emerging markets and chief marketing officer, in a statement.
The promotion is hosted at www.Chiquita.com/Rio.
The company also is activating at retail by placing a Rio-themed version of the iconic Chiquita sticker on bananas and avocados. It also has placed stickers featuring Rio characters on pineapples and is touting the movie on packaging for Chiquita Mini Bananas.
Chiquita last year conducted a mobile marketing program that visited state fairs, food festivals and other events.
(Source: IEG Sponsorship Report), 05/02/11)
How You Can Make Money:
Produce vendors are an oft-overlooked category for sponsorship and other Alternative Revenue dollars. Often, with enough notice and a little creativity, you can also include funding from the various food and dairy associations; a number of which can be found listed on RAB.com. Just a few examples: National Coffee Association of USA; American Egg Board; National Yogurt Association; Florida Department of Citrus; and California Avocado Commission just to name a few.
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