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Promotional campaign in China to target aspirational families
20 September 2018

A strategic promotional campaign targeting affluent and aspirational young families will be used to drive sales of AVANZA avocados in China this season.

The campaign, supported by in-store demonstrations and the WeChat app, will position AVANZA as the supplier of premium quality New Zealand avocados and tap into the desires of Chinese ‘supermums’ who want to be seen as upper-middle class.

For mothers of school-age children in China, in-depth market research shows avocados are a symbol of prosperity - purchasing them is a sign that you want the very best for your family. Premium prices are no barrier for this consumer group which AVANZA is targeting in niche retail stores with a new Chinese brand that reflects the avocado’s status as a high-quality super food.

AVOCO is exporting avocados to China under its AVANZA brand for the first time since New Zealand gained market access earlier this year. About 50,000 trays are planned for its debut.

AVOCO’s marketing and communications manager Steve Trickett says the promotional plan and its niche market focus would help to differentiate AVANZA avocados from fruit sourced from South American heavyweights, including Chile and Peru.

AVANZA, with around 65% projected share of New Zealand exports, will be the industry leader in China. In preparation, AVANZA appointed Shanghai-based branding agency, Resonance China, to conduct research to better understand consumer behaviours and attitudes towards avocados, especially among the group labelled ‘supermums’.

“These are mums who are very independent in their own right and who are very focused on their children and spend a lot of money on fresh produce, not really having any price sensitivity in that area,” says Resonance China director Jerry Clode, a Kiwi expat.

His company’s research discovered that many mothers in this consumer group disliked the taste and consistency of avocado after trying it the first time. Despite this, they persevered and amalgamated it into their families’ diets as they believed it had nutritional benefits.

“One thing we noticed was that avocado was a very important part of middle class status,” says Jerry. “When we went to people’s homes, they had avocado on display in their fruit bowls. It’s important in symbolising modern health, wealth and family.”

Jerry and his team also accompanied women who fit the ‘supermum’ description on shopping trips. “We were able to observe interesting cues which we could build into a brand story for AVANZA, with the objective of positioning it as the most recognised and trusted New Zealand avocado brand in China.”

This involved creating the idea than AVANZA avocados “reach a new standard” of quality compared to other imports. This messaging is reflected in new fruit labels carrying the Chinese name for AVANZA, “Chao niu guo”.

“When translated, to a younger generation the name implies ‘next-level cool fruit’ or ‘next-level cool’, whereas the more literal translation reads as “the super one” explains Steve. “The name is a call-to-action of sorts, and if you want to be seen as ‘next-level cool’ or feed your family ‘super food’, it’s something you need to have in your shopping basket.”

Supporting this name and large-size fruit is promotional information available through in-store tastings and interactive digital campaigns. These campaigns involve WeChat, China’s multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app.

“As with most markets we export to, in-store tastings, product demonstrations and social media remain the most effective and rewarding promotional investment we make,” Steve says.  

“China will be no different and being a relatively new market, consumer education on aspects such as nutritional content, product versatility, usage, and recipe ideas will be fundamental to our long-term success.”

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Partners: Southern Produce, Primor, Team Avocado