WENATCHEE, Wash. – Stemilt’s newest signature apple, Rave®, increased in popularity this year following a digital campaign to become Instagram’s First Verified Fruit (FVF). The FVF campaign brought rave-worthy content to Instagram users across the nation, by sharing feel-good material that includes positive and uplifting stories from communities across the country, while driving community engagement and garnering followers.
“We’re thrilled with the success of the FVF campaign,” explains Brianna Shales, Stemilt senior marketing manager. “Like we mentioned at the start of the campaign in August, sharing positive and uplifting stories to people around the country is what Rave® and the brand is all about, and something we all need more of as we continue through a crazy 2020.”
The success of the all-digital campaign is apparent in the numbers. Between social media coverage and influencer recognition, the FVF campaign garnered nearly 500 pieces of coverage with over 200 million online readership views and reached over 38 million followers. Well-known media outlet MSN (with 62.7 million unique viewers per month) covered Rave® in a story curated around unique apple varieties consumers should try this fall. Lifestyle magazines like Seattleite and 425 Magazine also covered Rave®, as well as countless influencers on Instagram including Eugene, the World Record Egg (@world_record_egg) who broke the internet in 2019.
In 5 weeks the @raveapples Instagram account grew from just shy of 75 followers to nearly 5000 followers. Shales attributes much of this success to the valued partnerships from influencers and media coverage the campaign garnered.
“The amount of support we received from users across multiple digital platforms was phenomenal,” says Shales. “Plus, the partnership between Rave® (@raveapples) and Eugene the Egg was a huge hit among Instagram followers, earning 3.7 million impressions. Simple partnerships like Eugene’s position Rave® as the fun and social apple it is, which carries forward its success at retail.”
Stemilt also partnered with Serious Eats and Spotify to boost the FVF campaign. Serious Eats, a website/blog that is focused on sharing food items to food enthusiasts around the country created a unique sandwich recipe that featured Rave® apples. Stemilt also launched Spotify ads to encourage listeners to follow Rave®’s Instagram page.
Shales explains that focusing on these types of partnerships that is direct-to-consumer bodes well for the apple category as a whole. Rave® is the first premium variety to come off the tree at the end of July and sets the tone earlier on for the category. Rave® comes from David Bedford, the same University of Minnesota breeder that discovered Honeycrisp. It’s a cross between Honeycrisp and the MonArk apple, both of which have premium quality characteristics. Rave® carries the same, crisp, juicy crunch of the Honeycrisp variety, while ripening early like the MonArk. The combination of the two is an outrageously juicy apple with a refreshing, snappy zing.
“Increasing consumer awareness is important for any brand, and we’ve found the word-of-mouth approach is the best fit for the apple that people like to rave about,” explains Shales. “Once the consumer recognizes the brand, Rave®’s flavor and quality are what keeps them coming back for more. It leaves the shopper with a delightful eating experience they will crave over and over again.”
While this is only the fourth season that Rave® is available commercially, Stemilt has constantly promoted the brand through various types of guerrilla marketing campaigns since 2017. From pop-up shops to road trips, Rave® will continue to the push the apple category to new levels so consumers can enjoy fresh crop apples in the late summer.
“While we love seeing the numbers and the final results of the campaign, what we truly loved was hearing about the amazing experiences consumers had with Rave® this year,” explains Shales. “It brought people together in tough times and that’s the real win for us.”
Stemilt is a family-owned grower, packer, and shipper of tree fruit. Owned and operated by the Mathison family, Stemilt’s mission is to cultivate people and delight consumers with its World Famous Fruits. Stemilt is a leader in sweet cherries and organic tree fruits, and a key supplier of apples and pears. The company stewards an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible business through its Responsible Choice® program, which has been in place since 1989. For more information about Stemilt, visit www.stemilt.com.