Colby & Partners Adds More Avocados

LOS ANGELES Dentsu’s Colby and Partners has added two avocado-promoting clients to its assignment roster, an agency representative said. The accounts were awarded without a formal review.

The Santa Monica, Calif., shop—already involved in avocado culture via its eight-year relationship with Irvine, Calif., client the California Avocado Commission—said it won creative duties for the Hass Avocado Board and creative, media and public relations chores for the Chilean Avocado Importers Association. A shared goal for all three organizations is to build national consumer demand for the versatile, thick-skinned fruit.

The CAIA, a Washington, D.C.-based consortium of Chilean avocado importers and exporters, works closely with the California Avocado Commission, according to the agency. Each organization relies on its own marketing budget, however; a Colby rep estimated the CAIA’s current ad spend at $3 million. (The Chilean fresh fruit-avocado industry spent $2 million on advertising in 2004, per TNS Media Intelligence.)

Agency president and executive creative director Rick Colby explained that domestic and Chilean avocado-growing seasons come at different times of the year, so CAC and CAIA campaigns have been designed to be complementary rather than competitive. Even though the accounts have been consolidated under one agency roof, Colby said, new outdoor, radio and print work would continue that harmonized, seasonal strategy.

“They’re two different accounts,” Colby stressed. But their concepts are both “about how much people like avocados and want to buy them.”

The agency has also been tapped to craft a campaign for the Hass Avocado Board, the rep said. That organization serves to unite avocado producers selling in the U.S. under one strategic marketing umbrella, to promote avocado use year-round. In addition to Chile, member countries include Mexico, New Zealand and the Dominican Republic.

Collectively, Colby’s 2005-06 efforts on behalf of the avocado could generate as much as $10 million in billings. But one day, Colby suggested, there could be much more in store.

“If all the different countries got together and decided to really promote avocados, that could be our biggest account,” he said.