2020 Auckland Marathon – November 2020

By Jen Scoular

There is always a question of how much marketing you should do, and the return on investment of that marketing. We know sharing the message works, and we look at the big brands and they still promote like crazy so that tells us that branding and promotional activity raises the visibility needed to sell your product.

Then it is about getting the right type of promotional event. We’ve tried a few, each with their own benefits and challenges, many creating a real hype around avocados, or creating the perfect fun team environment that has a terrific spill-over of being a team activity as well as a promotional event.

Our sponsorship of the 5km run at the ASB Auckland marathon certainly ticked that box, what an amazing endorsement of our product it was. We had runner’s queueing for up to 15 minutes, after they had run 5km, 11km, 21km or 42km races, to thank us for their slice of delicious creamy avocados on toast. Thanks for your patience we said, “oh no, this is amazing, the perfect post run food, thank you!” responded many of the athletes.

Avocados most certainly team superbly with healthy activity, and runners talked about the ease with which avocado on toast was consumed post a run. As sponsors of the 5km run, the team set up a tent and shared over 2,000 pieces of avocado on Vogel’s for runners and spectators.

The event itself was superbly organised with nearly 14,000 runners, and over 20,000 supporters, heading to Victoria Park to run through the finish line or cheer on their active family and friends. The preceding two days allowed NZ Avocado to share information about avocados, to give out avocado tattoos and to build up an appetite amongst runners and supporters for the avocados on toast shared on race day.

The 5km race saw NZ Avocado team member Bevan Jelley dressed as a green avocado to take the 400 or more runners through their warm-up, before they headed off from Wynyard Quarter, along the waterfront and back to Victoria Park. I ran the 5km in an avocado suit, letting my daughter Rebecca head off at a much faster pace. Although, I did come in 39th out of 479, and 2nd in my age group – the power of avocado strikes again!

The disrupted world we are all living in meant the build up to the event was never relaxed, knowing it could be cancelled or postponed if Covid happened to show its ugly head in the community. We mitigated that risk as best we could, but were very happy not to have to go to plan B or C.

That uncertainty continues to impact our logistics TO export market. Shipping delays and disruptions mean avocados are waiting for a ship, sitting too long on a ship or being on a ship bound for a port that is emitted from the shipping schedule, after the container is on the water.

Growers will face some of the costs of this, although the quality this season is strong, and the output from delays is not nearly as hard as it might have been.

As a team we are also all noticing the weight of Covid, everything is just a little bit harder, just a little bit more challenging. We cannot plan too far ahead, we need alternative options and we need to switch or cancel activity at a moment’s notice. We are looking forward to a team event out of the office in a few weeks to strengthen our resilience as a well performing team.

With new lockdowns being implemented across Europe, I certainly appreciate New Zealand’s relative freedom but recognise the need to stay agile, open and willing to take on a marathon or five km race, in such a way to support our growers, and industry as an essential food producer through this pandemic.

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