NEW YORK -- Stopping in retail center parking lots, parks and other locations where the public gathers, a fleet of six Volkswagen Beetles is rolling across the East and Midwest to promote kiwifruit.
tt, marketing manager for kiwifruit at David Oppenheimer Group of Vancouver, Canada, the agent representing Zespri and its growers in North America.
"This year's supply of fruit is the largest we've seen in the U.S. in the last five seasons," he said. "Through the sampling program we plan to emphasize great taste and the health benefits of kiwifruit to the consumer. At the same time, we want to call attention to our increased volumes and our superior quality to the trade."
The promotion, called the Zesprimania Taste Tour '98, centers on the reintroduced VW Beetle; the six used in the campaign have been painted bright green. Among the cities on the tour are Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis and Syracuse, N.Y..
At each stop, tour members will hand out samples and tout the fruit's nutritional value and versatility. The talk will be peppered with words that catch the ear of health-conscious consumers, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, fiber and antioxidant.
"The teams that man the Zespri mobiles have the responsibility of getting our healthy, zesty product into the hands of the consumer," said Scott.
The campaign aims to reverse a downward trend that began five years ago, when domestic kiwifruit consumption peaked. This year there was a bumper crop this year and suppliers are hoping to "jump-start" the category, he added.
The VW Beetles were chosen because they resemble kiwifruit, said Scott. "They share a common, fun appeal, not to mention their shape."Audrey Swain, East Coast team leader for the Zespri campaign, agreed, saying "The VW Beetle and the New Zealand kiwifruit have stirred interest in the crowds that we have met so far. Consumers are having fun with the promotion and are associating the fruit with the colored cars," she said.