“Avocados From Mexico was very excited to join the ranks of top advertisers this year, and reign as the first fresh produce brand to broadcast an ad during the biggest American professional sporting event of the year,” AFM president Alvaro Luque told FoodNavigator-USA.
The campaign began shortly after the start of the football season, in October 2014. As the leading avocado brand, one of AFM’s main objectives was to effectively “own” guacamole consumption throughout the football season, as football is the country’s most popular sport.
Following two Jan. 30 teasers from GSD&M (the agency behind the ad), AFM’s quirky minute-long spot showing the first draft ever premiered during Super Bowl 49 on Feb. 1 for more than 114 million viewers. (Watch it here.) AFM then launched a digital campaign that included a site experience and released seven online videos on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter throughout the rest of the night and into the following day.
“On game day, the approach was for AFM to dominate real-time social media engagement and promotion around the ad in collaboration with (our) agencies—GSD&M, Ketchum and Havas—in order to extend the momentum while engaging with (our) fans,” Luque said.
The goal was to 'own' guacamole consumption throughout the football season
All told, the ad amassed some 1.1 billion media impressions. Engagement for all AFM social media platforms was up 5,400%, and the hashtag #FirstDraftEver trended in 27 cities nationwide, helping the brand achieve the second most social buzz of the game behind Proctor & Gamble’s #LikeAGirl ad, according to TechCrunch.
In the weeks following the Super Bowl spot, AFM also conducted an in-store promotion geared toward using fresh avocado on sandwiches and in wraps featuring Food Network personality Jeff Mauro.
So far, 2015 has been good to AFM, though Luque said factors outside the campaign are also at work. Mexican avocado imports reached more than 200 million pounds in the first five weeks of the year, exceeding last year’s volume by nearly 25%. (AFM’s share in each of those weeks was 93%.) Year to date, the entire avocado industry is growing around 14%, with AFM growing more than 35% YTD.
Luque also credited the campaign for helping drive weekly sales of Mexican avocados in the US above 50 million pounds for the first time—which happened twice in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. As a result, Mexican growers expect their US market share to grow from 67% at the end of the last fiscal year (June 30, 2014) to 70% at the start of the next fiscal year, on July 1, he added.
Luque said that the ad demonstrates part of “an important shift” toward healthier choices getting advertised in a big way.
“While I cannot comment on the strategy behind other better-for-you products, I can say that Avocados From Mexico had an advantage that traditionally only beer and other less nutritious snacks have had; guacamole and avocados are actually being consumed during the Big Game,” he said.
In the coming months, AFM aims to continue reinforcing the brand’s value proposition with consumers and maintain growth for the whole US avocado category year-round. The brand is also a founding support of FNV, a new brand that promotes fruit and vegetable consumption to teens and moms.
And now that more mainstream consumers than ever are paying attention, there’s room for improvement, Luque said. “We know for a fact that there are three areas that consumers need more education on: how to pick avocados, how to control the ripeness of avocados in their household, and what to do with the other half of the avocado.”