SAN ANTONIO -- H.E. Butt Grocery Co. here had shoppers wading in "The World's Largest Bowl of Guacamole," during a promotion at one of its supermarkets sponsored by the chain and the California Avocado Commission, based in Santa Ana, Calif.
An above-ground swimming pool filled with about 2,000 gallons of the green dip was set up in the store's parking lot for the promotion, during which the chain was selling avocados at three for a $1. One average-sized avocado usually sells for about $1, said a CAC official. The guacamole was supplied by Delta Produce Marketing, also based here.
From April 17 to 26, the chain ran ads for avocados in its circulars and in local papers, and used signage above its year-round avocado displays chainwide, said Judy Marshall, produce category manager at H-E-B.
"Each store had a sign above the avocado display, and a place where [shoppers] could get information about the [promotion] and also sign up," Marshall said.
The week before, the CAC and H-E-B began promoting the event, dubbed Cali Tour '97, by driving around to most of the H-E-B stores in the San Antonio area with the commission's mascot, Cali Avocado, in a campaign to bolster the use of the avocado in everyday consumption.
"If anything, we're trying to slightly shift people away from guacamole, and to realize that there's a whole bunch of things they can do with avocados," said Jack Beresford of the San Diego-based Gable Group, the marketing firm handling public relations for the CAC.
"San Antonioans eat more avocados per capita than [people in] any other city in the U.S.," Beresford said. H-E-B's Marshall agreed. "We have avocados [on display] all the time," she said. The promotion coincided with Fiesta San Antonio, a citywide celebration that began April 18.
This is the first time the CAC has ever run such an in-store promotion. "We've known we wanted to build the world's largest bowl of guacamole for several months," Beresford said. "We finally found somebody [willing] to do it," he said of H-E-B.
The promotion, which had shoppers mixing it up in the giant vat of dip, gave customers a chance to win a number of prizes, including a trip to next year's Super Bowl, Beresford said.
Numbered footballs were thrown into the pool and buried in the guacamole, and whichever shopper found the ball with the correct number won the grand prize.