The Peruvian Avocado Commission is making a big marketing push this year, and Xavier Equihua, CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based commission, hopes it turns some heads throughout the avocado industry.

“We felt the category was acting very outdated, and we wanted to set a precedent,” Equihua said.

Commission takes big marketing plungeIt starts with the website, Equihua said. The commission wants the industry to see its website as its “electronic home for everything.” That means de-cluttering it, making it retail- and consumer-friendly and easy on the eyes.

The commission’s new, totally redesigned website, AvocadosfromPeru.com, features an interactive “long scroll” design that captures the flavors and rich cultural heritage of Peru as well as its modern growing practices, Equihua said.

In addition, its mobile-ready technology automatically adjusts to the screen size on smart phones and tablets, and a dedicated retail section features valuable merchandising information and a menu of customized marketing tactics.

Finally, the site includes consumer-focused sections that feature nutrition information, delicious recipes and beautiful photography.

The commission gained inspiration for the revamped site from companies like Apple and luxury and fashion brands, Equihua said. With too many produce industry websites, he said, your eye doesn’t know where to go. The new commission site is designed to make navigation easy.

Commission takes big marketing plungeTake, for instance, the site’s recipe section, he said. It has relatively few, but presented in a way you would look at them in a physical cookbook, with huge pictures and simple navigation.

“You don’t need 500 recipes on your website,” Equihua said. “People don’t want to look at thumbnail photos.”

Likely by mid-September, the English-language site will be translated into German, French and other languages, Equihua said.

The revamped website is just one aspect of the 2014 campaign, focused around the slogan “Monumental Flavor” — the group’s first integrated, nationwide campaign ever, Equihua said.

“We created a global image and brand” for the campaign, he said. “So far we’ve gotten some very positive feedback from the trade, retailers and consumers.”

The campaign also will include radio ads airing in 19 markets beginning the last week of June, Equihua said.

In addition, 600 Wal-Mart stores will run demos the week before July Fourth featuring hot dogs with Peruvian avocados. Other retail promotions are slated for Ahold, Wakefern, Market Basket and other chains.

“It’s a very robust kickoff,” Equihua said.

Also on tap for the summer campaign are new retail point-of-sale materials; trade advertising; outdoor billboards featuring photos of Machu Picchu alongside photos of Peruvian avocados; several social media events; and the first Avocados From Peru Monumental Recipe Contest.

The contest, which will be coordinated through the website Food 52, will encourage the site’s devoted foodies from across the country to submit recipes that showcase the versatility, buttery texture and distinct flavor of avocados.

The commission also made a big push on Fourth of July promotions this year, Equihua said. In-store demos and radio and trade publication ads highlighted the effort.

For the in-store demos, more than 380 Wal-Mart stores throughout the country were scheduled to serve the commission’s Avo Dogs — hot dogs topped with Peruvian avocados — from June 26 through June 29.

Radio ads were set to run from June 23 through July 4. The 30-second spots with custom retailer tags targeted 18 markets and Pandora Internet Radio.

Full-page ads were scheduled to run in key trade publications reminding retailers to promote Peruvian fruit for the Fourth.

In addition, posts on the commission’s Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook pages reminded consumers to stock up on Peruvian avocados for the holiday.