Industry Partners

Coronavirus Changes Marketing Plans for Many

Companies altering how they address consumers
Photograph courtesy of California Avocado Commission

Business as usual has been halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, and as a result, many brands are changing how they market to consumers. The times call for heartfelt, simple expressions and that is exactly what companies are turning to.

The Irvine, Calif.-based California Avocado Commission (CAC) is among those that are making rapid changes to its marketing plans, as well as with grower communications and office operations. “The commission has been extensively reevaluating each CAC activity in light of societal shifts and sensitivities and adjusting our activities as we strive to move forward in support of this year’s California avocado crop with the right messages, tone and method of delivery,” said CAC President Tom Bellamore. “Likewise, the obvious importance of retail sales and the constraints on the foodservice industry are driving daily decisions about how we allocate resources and support our valued customers.”

Safety throughout the supply chain was the key priority for the CAC, and with the “safer at home” orders that have been instituted across the country, the commission rethought its branding to customers.

With consumers having to stay in their homes, CAC shifted much of its advertising to streaming video and digital communication, maintaining its objectives to reach targeted consumers where they are. Several consumer and trade events that the commission had as part of its marketing plans this year have been canceled. Digital programs with influential bloggers who contribute to CAC’s blog, The Scoop, and to their own channels continue. The organization also is proceeding with digital chef programs and recipe communications, as well as marketing via custom content providers.

However, the new advertising creative, “The best avocados have California in them,” will continue.

“Positivity and healthy food, like avocados, are among what consumers need most right now. Given the timing and the fact that the new advertising campaign had launched, we decided to stay with it,” added Jan DeLyser, VP of marketing for the CAC. “Enjoying healthy produce like fresh California avocados is a simple pleasure we can savor while we’re home.”

Perdue Shifts to Selfie-Style

Perdue also scuttled its product marketing plan and instead is launching a selfie-style video campaign featuring Chairman Jim Perdue thanking the people on the front lines of food production and delivery—everyone from farmers to shelf stockers—who are busy working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those “who are rarely seen, even more rarely thanked, yet they’re always there when we need them the most,” he says in a spot.

“Given all that is going on with COVID-19, we decided to forego a more traditional new ad campaign that was to launch March 30 for a new approach to acknowledge the situation and salute the thousands of people who are working overtime to keep the food supply chain up and running during this crisis,” said David Zucker, senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

Perdue and its ad agency came up with a plan, script and very unorthodox production plan that included Perdue filming the spot himself in “selfie mode” while it was directed remotely by the agency. The result is a heartfelt message in his own words into his own cellphone.

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