After six years of successful advertising in the Big Game, Avocados From Mexico decided to not to air a commercial this year and shift its strategy to help drive retail sales during the fall season in order to prepare the market for the brand's Big Game promotion. This new strategic approach paid off leading to new historic records. Despite pandemic challenges, the U.S. imported a historic record of 277 million pounds of Mexican avocados in the first four weeks of the year leading up to the most important guacamole consumption event. This represents a 19% increase vs the same period in 2020, with another record of 78 million pounds of Mexican avocado imports in a single week for the first time ever.
"We had plans to pivot our strategy ahead of the pandemic, and I'm impressed with the results in a year rocked by challenges," said Alvaro Luque, president and CEO of Avocados From Mexico. "We decided some time ago that we wanted to start changing the sales dynamic of the industry and reinforce fall as a key season for AFM in preparation for an unprecedented Big Game push."
From October to December (OND), the market sustained a 49+ million lb. weekly average in 2020 of Mexican fruit compared to 46+ million lb. in 2019. "Since we decided to reinforce the promotional strategy for OND two years ago, Mexican avocado imports have grown 27% during this three-month period, a clear indication that we are on the right path," said Luque.
With 97% market share in OND, AFM established this time frame as a major tentpole within its annual marketing strategy, with hyper-focused shopper and trade marketing efforts to drive consumption. Given the pandemic's impact on the foodservice sector, AFM pivoted its strategy to focus on driving retail demand. This paid off in 2020: per Nielsen, avocado consumption during OND was up double digits across the U.S, with an increase of 16.5% in lb. volume compared to OND 2019.
AFM's strategy alignment reinforcing avocado sales during the last quarter of 2020 and in the first weeks of 2021 also made it AFM's most successful Big Game digital campaign with 7.6 billion impressions for the brand. AFM's "Guac Bowl" campaign was the first-ever fully integrated shopper and digital campaign for the Big Game, including major football celebrities Hall of Famer and Sports Newscaster Troy Aikman and Sports Newscaster Erin Andrews. "Our campaign helped reinforce our association with football in an effort to generate excitement with our retailers and drive baskets for the #1 guacamole occasion of the year," said Stephanie Bazan, Vice President, Trade & Market Development for AFM.
"Given the impressive results, we will continue with this strategic approach. Following this proven formula, we are already working on the biggest promotional program for Cinco de Mayo," concluded Luque.