As the pandemic took hold in March of 2020, promotion planning for the 2020 season was already underway. In anticipation that the effects would include heavily-reduced store traffic and increases in online shopping, by February the NWCG had already shifted promotions to include or focus on digital promotions wherever possible. Nearly 3 out of every 4 cherry sales are impulse, but the internet is filled with impulse marketing options. The challenge was the attention on cherries at the point of sale, no matter what channel a consumer chose. For the rapidly growing number of new American online grocery shoppers, that point of sale came in a host of formats.
So while pursuing individual programs with our retail partners, the NWCG also created and released a number of digital, consumer-facing promotions. Retailers and consumers alike were requesting health information in record number, and we responded to that with a campaign focusing on the stress-reducing power of sweet cherries. In a summer like 2020, it was an excellent opportunity to focus on sweet cherries’ power to improve sleep, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and boost serotonin. Along with the typical mix of social media, we pushed our cherry health and seasonal messaging through streaming TV ads (like Apple TV and Roku) and Spotify, as well as via podcasts that align with top cherry buying demographics, like The Daily by the NY Times. As our social media numbers grew, we engaged them with a #makeitcherry recipe contest. Such a program doesn’t always return a useful ROI for our growers, but the large increases in cooking at home and social media use in 2020 made it an ideal way to encourage consumers to try the season’s cherries and share their ideas.
But as with our retail promotions, the message has to reach the point of sale. Making that happen took many forms in 2020, including “shoppable ads,” where recipes on top sites link directly to the shopping cart, not just the list, of the consumer’s online grocery platform. From custom YouTube ads to promotions at grocery order pick-up locations, the NWCG worked to ease the situation and increase the success of both our growers and retail partners during this most challenging season.
Northwest Cherry Growers
Yakima, WA, U.S.A.