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Call it the Internet of Green Things. Avocados From Mexico, an organization that manages marketing of Mexican avocados in the U.S., operates around 250 web-connected displays in grocery stores and is turning its AvoLifestyle initiative into digital data through a partnership with Under Armour's MyFitnessPal, a weight loss and fitness tracking app. Perhaps better-known for its first Super Bowl commercial earlier this year, the group also began a mobile ad campaign last week targeting previous avocado buyers when they're in a supermarket parking lot or in the store itself.
Food brands often have relatively limited insights into their consumers, with grocery retailers holding detailed transactional data close to the vest. For produce marketers, the view can be even more obstructed. Price look-up codes for avocados, for example, don't distinguish between avocados from Mexico or California.
But a growing portion of Avocados From Mexico's funds, now 30% of its media buy, goes towards digital efforts intended partly to soak up data and insights on consumers who buy or might be convinced to buy the buttery-rich fruit most associate with guacamole.
"The last three years it's been the category of our budget that has gown the most," said Alvaro Luque, president of the group.
The association is working with NectarOM, an omni-channel marketing platform, to manage a database intercepting information from that array of digital programs.
Avocados From Mexico is connecting to fitness-minded people through a relationship with the MyFitnessPal app. Users can register for the AvoLifestyle Challenge, a contest encouraging participants to log 15 meals that include a serving of avocado this December. Winners get a customized meal plan from a nutritionist and will be entered to win a $500 Under Armour gift card.
Data flowing from the group's email marketing and digital advertising, its in-store beacons, social media interactions, mobile location data from its ad partner Verve Mobile, and consumer interactions with its AvoLifestyle program through MyFitnessPal all filters into the system managed by NectarOM.
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"Every time that we invest in something … we're capturing that information to create a database that at the end we can personalize, we can segment, we can target and remarket," said Mr. Luque. Avocados From Mexico is gradually converting its 1,000 branded grocery displays to feature mobile beacons that promote its iAvocado app and recognize devices that have downloaded it. Combined with mobile ads touting the app, the effort has yielded 20,000 downloads so far, according to the group.
"We're just starting with it but now we have a cool base of customers," Mr. Luque said.
"It's how we're mixing technology with point of sales," he added.
The trade group announced recently that it has re-upped to run another Super Bowl spot in February, part of its ongoing goal to establish its name as a healthy brand.
And, most recently, the in-app mobile campaign begun last week is targeting sports fans, football tailgaters, Hispanic moms and other segments such as those who might have been spotted via mobile location trackers inside a grocery store. Avocados From Mexico is using Verve Mobile to aim ads at people who have bought avocados in the last six months, based on Nielsen Catalina's household-level purchase data tied to mobile devices.
"It's an actual data match," said Julie Bernard, CMO, Verve Mobile.
In some cases, a consumer might be served an expandable ad while outside a supermarket reminding her to buy avocados. Inside the store, Verve can target a different ad message with tips on how to choose an avocado. Later, consumers might see ads describing how best to ripen the fruit.