In Canada, the California Cherry Marketing Board’s primary tool for driving awareness and demand for California cherries throughout the country is through Market Access Program (MAP)-funded flyer advertisements. In 2021, CCMRB utilized Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) funding to expand upon this effort and conduct a complimentary digital marketing campaign.
To launch the promotion and encourage retailer purchases of California cherries ahead of the 2021 season, CCMRB released a Grocery Business e-blast to over 7,000 Canadian trade contacts. Following the e-blast, CCMRB reached out to targeted retailers and offered funding to conduct digital marketing activities alongside the flyer ad campaigns. As a result, Longo’s Ontario ran a comprehensive promotion to drive California cherry sales both in-store and on the retailer’s e-commerce platform, Grocery Gateway. Activities included displaying California cherry banner ads, releasing teaser ads to over 33,000 e-commerce shoppers, and circulating virtual demonstration videos on Longo’s Facebook and Instagram pages. The videos linked to a form, where consumers could enter a contest to win one of four $100 gift cards to Longo’s.
Mid-season, CCMRB recognized the high volume of exports to Canada and decided to allocate additional ATP funds to the market to make a final push to entice retailers to run late-season flyer advertisements. As a result, Metro Quebec ran two flyer ads, including one on the front page. Save-On Foods featured California cherries in its flyer for the first time in several years.
The campaign was highly successful in encouraging both trade and consumer purchases of California cherries. Thanks in part to these efforts, in 2021 California cherry exports to Canada increased 141% by volume and 107% by value over 2020, to reach 9,984 metric tons (MT), at an estimated value of over $53.8 million. Moreover, these efforts helped CCMRB reach retailers that have been reluctant to run California cherry promotions in past, which will help drive California cherry sales in future seasons as well.