FNV Year in Review

Looking forward to 2019

FNV, the national campaign to promote fruits and vegetables, continued to expand in 2018, reaching new markets, attracting new celebrity spokespeople, and taking on new partners. It even earned international celebrity status of its own.

FNV has created a “brand” for fruits and vegetables to promote greater consumption of produce, using celebrity spokespeople in much the same way that athletes, actors and performing artists are used to promote sneakers, watches and other products. The strategy is popular among advertisers for one reason: it works.

In a first-of-its-kind partnership for PHA, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) came on board in a co-branded campaign making FNV marketing materials available free of charge to mom-and-pop grocers, convenience stores, and other locations in 16 rural communities across the state. Eight of the 16 have already ordered a total of 284 campaign pieces; two retailers have ordered pieces with the team colors of the University of Kansas and Kansas State University.

Participating stores can order cart posters, shelf talkers, aisle blades, and other materials through an online portal. At Hometown Foods in Buhler, Kansas, the cereal aisle now features a blade with bright yellow bananas and the message, “Goes Great with Cereal!” In the frozen food aisle, another piece – featuring a photo of basketball great Steph Curry, tells shoppers, “Frozen peas don’t just make good ice packs.”

“The overall purpose is to improve the quality of life for our community,” said Virginia Barnes, Director of Blue Health Initiatives for BCBSKS. “This is part of our Pathways to a Healthy Kansas initiative, which is a comprehensive approach to shifting the dialogue around being healthy. We think it’s important to be invested in improving the health of Kansans overall.”

Participating stores have until July 2020 to take advantage of the free marketing materials, said Barnes. BCBSKS is already considering extending the program. “We’re looking to put out another round of this grant and perhaps develop this partnership some more in the future,” she said. “We’re excited about it. It’s been really well received by the communities we’re working with and we’re hoping to expand the campaign even further.”

In June, the FNV initiative—in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Extension FoodWise, healthTIDE, and the Wisconsin Department of Health Service—received global recognition when it won the National Centre for Social Marketing (NCSM’s) Award for Social Marketing. The international award recognized FNV’s team effort in Wisconsin, where partners linked consumption of fruits and veggies to support for popular local sports teams, using slogans such as “Die Hard Fans Eat Green and Gold,” and “Root, root, root for the Home Team” in social media and other ads featuring bell peppers, broccoli, and root vegetables. The ads garnered 14 million social media impressions and 23 million digital impressions, and they appeared on more than 15 billboards.

Preliminary results suggest the campaign may be shifting attitudes and behavior among viewers, who report more positive attitudes toward eating fruits and vegetables. The campaign expanded into 11 new communities in 2018 and now includes messages in Spanish.

Looking forward to 2019, Giant Food is bringing the FNV campaign to the Washington, D.C. market, where it has committed to placing ads in 164 stores in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

The ads now feature even more familiar faces for shoppers, with the addition last year of actress Regina Hall, Washington Mystics player Elena Delle Donne, TJ Oshie of the Washington Capitals, the Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal, Blake Martinez of the Green Bay Packers, and food and wine expert Antoni Porowski of the Netflix reality series, Queer Eye.

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