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In an effort to reach America’s youngest consumers, the California Avocado Commission (CAC) has put together a program designed to communicate the message that fresh California avocados are a good first food for many babies. “California Avo Babies” will run this May and June.
A scholarship contest anchors the integrated program. To enter, parents can upload photos of their babies digging into California avocados onto CAC’s contest page on Facebook for the opportunity to win a $5,000 cash scholarship grand prize, or one of two $2,500 cash scholarship prizes. After CAC’s Facebook fans vote for the finalists, the commission will choose the winners.
“Retailer response to the Avo Babies program is outstanding,” noted Jan DeLyser, VP of marketing for the Irvine, Calif.-based CAC. “We know that people consume more avocados as they age, and this program expands avocado consumption by encouraging new users from the time they are about 6 months old.”
The contest, which will accept photo submissions from Mother’s Day, May 8, to Father’s Day, June 19, will be backed by a special microsite at CaliforniaAvocado.com/Avo-Babies, CAC’s mobile website and an e-mail to more than 50,000 California avocado fans. Retail point-of-sale materials will highlight the program in participating produce departments, including display bins with header cards adorned with a smiling, avocado-smeared baby -- Asher, son of California avocado grower Andy Lyall.
A display contest will give retailers added incentive to create California Avocado displays promoting the California Avo Babies theme during the campaign period. Two $500 prizes, either awarded to an individual or donated to a retailers’ scholarship program, and three digital cameras will go the winners. Rules for the display contest, as well as order forms for the display bins and Avo Babies materials, can be found at CaliforniaAvocado.com/retail.
The promotion also includes a national public relations campaign to promote avocados as a good first food for babies and to encourage all-family usage. Well-known father-and-son pediatricians and authors Drs. Bill and Jim Sears will serve as spokesmen for the campaign.
“California avocados are, in our opinion, an ideal food for babies,” said Dr. Bill Sears, who with his son answers parents’ questions on AskDrSears.com. “The avocado's smooth, creamy consistency makes it a great first fresh fruit for babies to enjoy. Additionally, they are easy to prepare. Ripe avocados can be served without any cooking; which is a big time saver for parents.”
The doctors have ranked California avocados as both the No. 1 item on their “Top 10 Fruits” list and as an entry on their “Top 12 Family Foods” list, because to the fact that avocados provide substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, while containing relatively few calories.