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Add an Avo to Footy


Avocados Australia

PR Company: 

Impact Communications Australia

Award Category: 

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2010 C9 - 16



Executive Summary: 

The Australian Avocado industry sought to create a unique occasion which could be leveraged to promote fresh, unbranded avocados and drive sales. Following the lead of the American industry, industry sought to establish avocados and guacamole as the perfect at-home party food to enjoy whilst watching the game.


IMPACT Communications developed a creative PR campaign that created a genuine link between football and avocados. The campaign was highly effective reaching both grassroots and metropolitan media generating 129 articles and a total audience of more than 77 million.


The avocado industry has committed to a long term campaign with IMPACT as a consequence of year one results.

Situation Analysis: 

Research undertaken by Avocados Australia indicates avocado purchase is ‘intentional’; consumers buy avocados for a specific recipe or use. The key to encouraging Australians to consume more avocados is creating more ‘occasions’ to eat them.


Furthermore avocado purchase is price-sensitive. Consumers lower the quantity and regularity of purchase when prices rise. Unfortunately avocado growers do not control the price of fruit. Driving intentional purchase helps offset the impact of price fluctuations.


In response to this challenge, Avocados Australia developed its ‘Add an Avo’ campaign which promotes recipes and uses. This encourages consumers to plan purchases in order to cook a specific meal.


With the advertising campaign providing general cooking advice, PR was tasked with identifying a unique occasion that Avocados Australia could ‘own’ and that would drive planned purchase.


On SuperBowl Sunday alone, Americans eat more than 18 million kilograms of avocados in the form of guacamole. This amazing figure is the result of a 20 year PR campaign focused on half time snacking developed by the US Hass Avocado Board.


Avocados Australia had attempted to replicate this campaign without success. In conjunction with Horticulture Australia, Avocados Australia turned to IMPACT to create a campaign that would:

  • Communicate health and versatility
  • Help avocados ‘own’ half-time, at-home snacking as a unique consumption occasion requiring planned avocado purchase
  • Create a genuine football alignment and lay foundations for a long-term campaign

Additionally, Avocados Australia mandated that the campaign must communicate:

  • Nutritional value of avocados and their role in a healthy diet.
  • Versatility of avocados as an ingredient for cooking the perfect meal for any occasion


Avocados Australia undertakes annual research with Bread & Butter Research to measure consumer perceptions and the effectiveness of its marketing communications. The findings of this research drove IMPACT’s overall planning.


Additionally, IMPACT undertook research into:

  • US Superbowl promotion and the elements drove its success
  • Disparity between the Australian market and the American marketing campaign
  • Australian football codes and the governing bodies’ existing health programs

Target Policies: 

One of the challenges of the campaign was to avoid ‘audience confusion’. The campaign needed to position avocados as ideal for football fans’ snacking. However, football fans tend to be male, while research clearly found that women are the primary purchasers of avocados. When it comes to footy final parties, it is these women who plan the menu and purchase the ingredients.


IMPACT focused on the following target audiences:


1.    Consumers


Research recommended focusing on ‘Very Occasional’, ‘Occasional’ and ‘Frequent Users’ of avocados. This was further refined to women over 25, with lower incomes (less than $75,000 annually), living on the Eastern Seaboard with children at home


A secondary market was identified as educated grocery buyers (male or female); earning over $75,000 annually; between the ages of 25-39; living in metropolitan areas; and accustomed to eating out.


2.    Football clubs and governing bodies


In order to establish genuine link with a football code, it was vital to gain the support of the Code’s governing body and secure club participation.


3.    Football fans


As well as grocery buyers, football fans needed to accept the avocado industry’s positioning and snack on avocado-based recipes.


4.    Media


Media was the main vehicle to communicate the football positioning. IMPACT targeted:

  • Journalists on the news, food, health and sports rounds
  • Regional, and suburban media for grassroots coverage
  • Men’s and women’s consumer magazines
  • Specialist food writers and publications
  • Industry-related media including Talking Avocados
  • Football specific publications/programs
  • Club-operated newsletters, websites, etc

5.    Avocado growers/industry

Avocados Australia and Horticulture Australia represent the interests of a diverse group of growers and processors. Avocados Australia had not undertaken PR for many years and it was important to update the industry on the progress of the campaign.

Communication Strategy: 

IMPACT researched the success of the US campaign and its relevance to the Australian market. We identified a number of elements which affected the development of the communications strategy, including:



Strategic response



No clear link between avocados and football existed in Australia.

The PR campaign needed to build a genuine link and drive the association


America has one main code of football while Australia has four competing codes.

Rather than dilute the campaign by trying to be appropriate to all codes, IMPACT recommended forming a partnership with a single code. NRL offered the best opportunity as it had an existing commitment to health promotion at club level and strong national junior program.


The US campaign is driven by ‘at-home football-watching parties’ to celebrate the SuperBowl.

The Australian industry needed to partner with a party occasion that unites football fans. NRL and State of Origin offered more party occasions than other codes.


The SuperBowl launches the American avocado season, however Australian football finals come at the end of the Australian avocado season when communication is not required.

The campaign needed to offer multiple news angles which could be communicated throughout the entire football and avocado seasons. A one-off promotion would not have cut-through.


Partnering with football could see avocado messaging communicated to men rather than women, who buy and cook with avocados

Media choice and execution was critical to ensure that the avocado message was communicated to both men and women

Players behaviour in all codes has been less than perfect


IMPACT sought a partnership with the NRL’s One Community Program. This not-for-profit division focuses on community outreach and is less affected by players’ behaviour.  Issues management planning was included in the strategy.


IMPACT’s concept was to create a season-long recipe competition that would see NRL clubs and their health ambassadors pitted against each other to have the most popular avocado recipe. Football fans were asked to vote for their favourite recipe and support their favourite team.


IMPACT’s strategic messaging can be seen on the following diagram:

Communication Strategy diagram


NRL One Community Eat Well. Play Well. Stay Well. Sponsorship


IMPACT worked closely with the NRL to plan and create a new level of sponsorship within One Community’s ‘Eat Well. Play Well. Stay Well’, a community-based program that addresses childhood obesity. The NRL’s not-for-profit arm had never had a sponsor before. Debate and discussion over the introduction of this new sponsorship went as high as the NRL CEO, David Gallop.


This sponsorship was negotiated as a pilot program, similar to the US avocado alignment with the Superbowl, which would require Australian Avocado to create the experience from scratch.


Recipe Competition


IMPACT established a season-long recipe competition on the One Community website. Each NRL team had a team recipe which could be downloaded and voted for by fans.


Each team’s health ambassador, a current first grade high profile player, was tied to their team’s avocado recipe. Recipes were creatively titled to reinforce the alignment with the team.


The teams, health ambassadors and recipes were:

  • Brisbane Broncos: Nick Kenny - “Bucking Burrito”
  • Canterbury Bulldogs: Michael Hodgson – “Bulldog Bruchetta”
  • Canberra Raiders: Terry Campese – “Green Machine Ice Cream”
  • Cronulla Sharks: Luke Covell – “Shark Bites”
  • Gold Coast Titans: Scott Prince – “Titan Salad”
  • Sea Eagles: Matt Orford – “Sea Eagles Pizza”
  • Melbourne Storm: Cooper Cronk – “South of the Border Potatoes”
  • Newcastle Knights: Kurt Gidley – “Novocastrian Sandwich”
  • New Zealand Warriors: “Warriors Pacific Burger”
  • North Queensland Cowboys: Ashley Graham – “Lasso Chicken”
  • Parramatta Eels: Nathan Hindmarsh – “Sausage Eels”
  • Penrith Panthers: Michael Gordon – “Panther Pasta”
  • St George Dragons: Ben Creagh - “Fire Breathing Dips”
  • Souths Rabbitohs: Craig Wing – “Red and Green Army Salad”

Footy fans were asked to vote on the best recipe to win Grand Final tickets, signed NRL jersey and a cash grant of $5,000 for the winning club’s One Community program.


Each week the ‘Avo Ladder’ which featured the number of votes for each team, was updated and circulated to the teams


While a KPI was set for 80% club involvement, this was surpassed at 94% and even saw involvement from the international team, the New Zealand Warriors.


The recipe competition was very successful in gaining engagement with the NRL community and creating planned avocado use through the trial of the team recipes. While a KPI of 20 votes per week was set, 305 votes per week were secured during an 18 week period, resulting in 5,504 total votes.  Around 60% of these voters were aged 26 or over.


Today Show campaign launch


The partnership between Australian Avocados and the NRL was launched on Channel Nine’s Today Show. IMPACT secured a live weather cross in which, Steve Jacobs conducted six different live segments from Penrith Panthers.


Segments focused on the relationship between avocados and the NRL One Community program and on health and nutrition. First Grade players served a healthy breakfast to junior players and Avocado Australia nutritionist, Zoe Bingley-Pullin was interviewed. SEE COVERAGE AT APPENDIX A


Media relations


Media relations was at the heart of the campaign. IMPACT issued over 20 releases, including:

  • “Recipe Competition Offers a Healthy Kick Start to the Footy Season” announcing the recipe competition. Focusing on the importance of a well balanced diet and featured quotes from Mario Fenech and Zoe Bingley-Pullin. (SEE APPENDIX A)
  • “Ben Kennedy Pits ‘State Against State’ and ‘Plate Against Plate’ In Heart-Smart, State Of Origin Challenge” urging Queensland and New South Wales supporters to buy avocados and prepare healthy snacks when watching the State of Origin Series.
  • “Avocado Growers Tip Sea Eagles and Bulldogs to Go Head To Head for NRL Premiership Finals” suggesting the Sea Eagles and Bulldogs would play each other in the NRL Grand Final (based on the interim recipe competition results)
  • “How to Plan the Perfect Footy Final Party: Secrets of the Games’ Greats” urging footy fans to plan and host healthy footy parties when watching the NRL Finals
  • “Leading Nutritionist Warns against Footy Party Health Risk” warning against ‘heart-attack’ snacking and urging football supporters to make healthy choices when hosting footy parties.

Additionally, IMPACT pitched targeted stories to key media including kids program ‘Toasted TV’ (Titans)andMacquarie Radio’s continuous call team (Bronco’s Nick Kenny hour long interview). SEE SAMPLE MEDIA COVERAGE AT APPENDIX A.

Leveraging the NRL involvement


To drive awareness and traffic to the competition, IMPACT worked with the NRL to ensure:

  • All 16 x NRL Club websites featured a click-through button to the avocado recipe competition . Number of hits on these combined websites is one million per week. NRL estimated total value at $90,000.
  • The competition featured in the NRL’s weekly e- newsletter ‘Insider’ distributed to 130,000 NRL fans a week
  • Inclusion on new NRL Kids website (link to recipe competition on health page).
  • Participation in New Idea magazine wrap distributed at NRL charity matches. Distribution to some 30,000 attendees. SEE APPENDIX A
  • Cronulla Shark, Ben Ross for online video with Zoe Bingley-Pullin hosted on the Australian Avocados website.
  • Craig Fitzgibbon hosted an hour long forum on the Australian Avocados website. Members and NRL fans logged on the website to ask Craig about his avocado and entertaining preferences, as well as football career. One Community and Australian Avocados website promoted the forum. IMPACT attended the Sydney Roosters office and worked with Craig Fitzgibbon to prepare responses to the forum posts, as well as monitor feedback on the forum following the session.
  • Coverage in official NRL magazine Big League (circulation of 35,000).
  • Inclusion in Junior Rugby League magazine. Distributed to 75,000 junior rugby league players, the 2009 issue featured avocados on 16 pages including a by-lined article IMPACT drafted on behalf of nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin
  • An electronic direct mail piece promoting the recipe competition was sent to the 31,050 kids who registered to play NRL in 2009. The email was opened by 8,591 and click through rate to avocados link was 1,287
  • Individual clubs organized their own promotions around the competition. Some clubs promoted the competition on their websites. Manly Sea Eagles developed a recipe card which was sent to its membership, while Canterbury Bulldogs ran a complementary competition to promote its recipe to members.

Footy Finals TV Promotion


To book-end the promotion and stress the use of avocados at Footy Final parties, IMPACT negotiated a promotion on Seven’s The Morning Show.


The promotion sought to reinforce the footy party entertaining message with MGBs by offering viewers the chance to win the ultimate footy party prize pack ($10,000 entertainment package)..


IMPACT secured a week long SMS-to-win promotion including two 20 second spots daily read by Morning Show presenters Kylie Gillies and Larry Emdur. IMPACT secured Harvey Norman as a promotional partner

The promotion exposed Australian avocados to 127,474 grocery buyers in metropolitan Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. A total of 6,094 entries were secured.


Issues Management


IMPACT developed an issues management plan in case the avocado industry was criticized for its NRL link, in the light of the player scandals. All media coverage bar two online comments was positive and crises communications was not needed.


World Avocado Congress & Avocado Industry Committee


IMPACT kept the avocado industry informed of the campaign via regular reporting, writing articles for Talking Avocados newsletter and appearances at Avocado Industry Committee meetings. IMPACT’s directors spoke at the World Avocado Congress in Cairns as well as organsied Mario Fenech as special guest speaker at the Gala Dinner.


At the commencement of the campaign, IMPACT established a number of KPIs in conjunction with Avocados Australia/Horticulture Australia and the NRL:




1. NRL Relationship

IMPACT establishes a relationship with the NRL/One Community.

IMPACT negotiated a one year sponsorship with NRL One Community.

One Community/NRL provides at least four opportunities to feature avocados.

  1. 18 week One Community recipe competition
  2. Tile on all 16 club websites
  3. Tile on 2 x NRL insider e-newsletter
  4. Junior League Magazine (75,000 copies)
  5. Junior Passes database email (31,050 kids)
  6. Big League’s Little League (4 times)
  7. New Idea Wrap (30,000 distributed)

2. Recipe Competition

Recipe competition is run on the One Community website for duration of season

The recipe competition was hosted on the One Community website for 18 weeks.

20 votes are captured each week on the One Community website

The KPI was exceeded with a total of 5,504 votes secured, which equated to over 305 votes per week.

80% of clubs participate/support the competition (i.e. 12-13)

94% of clubs were involved in the recipe competition.

Coverage is obtained in 60% of club newsletters/online sites

All clubs featured the recipe competition in their newsletters and on their club website.

Audience reached with information on avocados & the recipe competition is at least 290,000 (this includes magazine distribution to 70,000 junior rugby league players)

  1. Media coverage reached 29,393,496
  2. Tile on all 16 club websites for 18 weeks = 18,000,000 hits
  3. NRL insider  x 2 = 260,000
  4. Junior League Magazine – 75,000 printed
  5. Junior passes database email = 31,050
  6. Little League x 4 articles = 140,000
  7. New Idea Wrap = 30,000

TOTAL audience reach: 47,929,546

3. Media Outcomes

TV Promotion - IMPACT links avocados with a TV partner for promotion

IMPACT secured a week-long promotion on The Morning show which offered fans the chance to win the ultimate footy party package.

One article in appears in each teams’ local newspaper (16 articles)

Each team recipe was featured in the local paper with the exception of Sea Eagles and Newcastle Knights

Target Pitches - 5 articles (five star)

64 ‘Five star’ articles were secured as a radio interview with Nick Kenny was syndicated to a number of stations.

Nutritional media release (i.e. how healthy is your footy final party?) – 20 articles

The footy party health release was distributed to national media. A number of targeted pitches resulted in some hero coverage in titles such as New Idea and Woman’s Day. Total articles 19.

Footy Finals/People’s Choice- 20 articles

15 footy finals articles were featured.

Total targeted coverage - 80 articles

129 articles were secured.


IMPACT evaluated the campaign by examining three key elements:


1.            Return on investment of sponsorship

2.            Media coverage & analysis

3.            Outcomes against objectives & KPIs


A detailed evaluation report was provided to Avocados Australia/Horticulture Australia. It included strategic recommendations for running the campaign in 2010. Without these strategic implications, evaluation is meaningless.


1. Return on investment of NRL sponsorship


The NRL reported that Avocados Australia received sponsorship benefits in excess of $100,000. Well above the cost of the sponsorship (see Appendix B for clarification).


2. Media coverage & message analysis


More than 129 articles were secured, well above the 80 predicted at the beginning of the campaign. IMPACT used Carma Masscom software to evaluate key messages. We also applied our Five Star Evaluation technique, which ranks media coverage by its content and importance to the client.


The rankings were defined as

  • One Star clip: Mention of Avocados (editorial)
  • Two Star clip: Inclusion of Avocados in recipes (no editorial)
  • Three Star clip: Mention of Avocados (editorial) and image of Avocados
  • Four Star clip: Mention of Avocados (editorial), image of Avocados and inclusion of recipe/usage suggestion including at home entertaining/football final party messages
  • Five Star clip: Full page article or television clip that includes home entertaining/ football final party messages

Our goals were to achieve 5 Five Star articles and 5 Four Star articles. IMPACT secured 64 Five Star articles and 16 four star articles. (SEE MEDIA COVERAGE & MEDIA COVERAGE SPREADSHEET AT APPENDIX A)


3. Outcomes against objectives & KPIs


IMPACT set KPIs at the beginning of the campaign. They are included in the results section of this document.


Our success against objectives includes:



Measured by:





Adapt US Superbowl alignment to have relevance to an Australian audience and the Australian avocado industry

·       Acceptance of strategic plans by growers

·       Involvement of Australians/football fans in the campaign

·       Growers accepted the strategic and IMPACT’s implementation of it.

·       IMPACT was retained to extend the campaign in 2010

·       More than 5,000 football fans took part in the competition

Form a genuine partnership with a football code to drive promotion

·       Involvement of governing bodies/clubs 

·       IMPACT secured the involvement of the NRL

·       15 of 16 clubs were involved (Auckland Warriors were excluded as they are outside the marketing region)


Establish a unique occasion that that requires planned avocado purchase(s).

·       Message analysis of media coverage and marketing materials to ensure the occasion-based positioning was communicated

·       Number of articles gained to suggest the positioning

·       Reach of media coverage and communications activities

·       129 articles were gained. All referred to avocados place on the half-time snack menu.

·       The campaign reached an audience of 77,323,042

Communicate the nutritional value of avocados and their place in a healthy diet.

·       Message analysis of media coverage and marketing materials

·       36% of articles discussed health in detail

·       A further 18% discussed the health initiative of One Community in relation to avocados

Communicate the versatility of avocados as an ingredient for cooking the perfect meal to enjoy whilst watching the football.

·       Message analysis of media coverage and marketing materials

·       Representation of football-related recipes in media coverage

·       More than 18 recipes were used in the course of the campaign

·       80% of coverage discussed one of the recipes from the  competition

·       Avocados were used in Footy Final recipe spreads for Taste.com.au, Women’s Day and New Idea.

Reach a new, niche audience of football fans and offer them ideas for how they might incorporate avocados to their diet

·       Reach of media coverage and communications activities

·       Involvement of football fans in the campaign

·       Campaign reach purely via NRL mechanism was 47,929,546

·       More than 5,000 football fans took part in the competition


Antony Allen, CEO of Avocados Australia said of the campaign: “Avocados Australia is committed to developing this football partnership as an ongoing campaign and has secured IMPACT’s services to role out the 2010 campaign. I recommend IMPACT for its strategic-thinking and firm grasp of FMCG marketing.”