California Avocado Commission Hires Mullen Lowe to Increase the Brand’s Reach

Trade group wants to target younger consumers

Mullen Lowe will strive to reach "new audiences in new places" early next year when it launches its first work for the California Avocado Commission, an account the agency just added following a review.

That's according to Margaret Keene, executive creative director for the shop's Los Angeles office, who said an "integrated multi-platform approach," including digital and paid social, is in the works. Like many clients across the advertising spectrum, the commission wants to reach "younger consumers—some who currently are interested in a food's origin, some who might need more reasons to pay attention," she said.

Interpublic Group's Mullen Lowe won the business in tandem with its sibling MediaHub. The pair takes over creative and media duties, respectively, from Los Angeles agency Amusement Park. That shop had worked on the account since 2007 but did not participate in the review, which began in April with 26 agencies, a client representative said. Consultancy Select Resources International oversaw the competition.

Recent work for the client—a trade association and marketing group—employed the tagline "Hand Grown in California." Future work will use that concept as a jumping-off point for appeals that "build emotional connections both to California Avocados as well as our home state," Keene said.

Though media spending in the past several years has hovered around $4.5 million, the category itself is hot. Avocados, which are actually a fruit, have been steadily gaining in domestic popularity in recent years. For example, Hass—the leading variety of avocados with about 95 percent of U.S. avocado consumption—last year saw sales rise to a record 1.9 billion pounds, twice the amount consumed a decade ago.

While the client rep would not go into details about why the review was launched, it is possible this year's popular Super Bowl spot from rival produce group Avocados From Mexico has ramped up the marketing stakes for California Avocados. The Mexican association's quirky first-quarter ad from GSD&M—featuring a God-like figure and commentary from ex-NFL stars Jerry Rice and Doug Flutie—garnered more than 1 billion media impressions and yielded several follow-up videos.