A year ago, frost limited New York’s apple crop to 17.1 million bushels. This year, at least 29 million bushels are expected.
“There’s a lot of pent up demand,” said Julia Stewart, spokeswoman for the Fishers-based New York Apple Association Inc.
“New York apple fans are waiting for us to get back in the market, and we’re looking forward to having fruit in the market for them this year.”
New York Apple plans to take full advantage of that demand with an advertising blitz in local markets. Stewart said the association spent the winter and spring trying to stay in front of retailers and the trade press to let them know “we’re still here and we’re coming back strong.”
The association now is turning its attention to consumers with a time-lapse TV commercial that shows an apple transforming from “blossom to awesome.”
The association also plans to feature TV ads with spokeswoman Abby Wambach, the all-time leading scorer in international soccer, through the fall and winter. Wambach is from Rochester, N.Y., and plays for a New York professional team.
“We’re playing to soccer moms who make a lot of the purchasing decisions for their families,” Stewart said. “All soccer moms and soccer playing girls know who Abby is. She’s a great fit because she grew up in ag. Her family owns a farmers market in Rochester.”
Those 15- and 30-second television ads are planned to run more than 2,200 times in five New York markets in the coming months. The association also plans to place more than 1,000 radio ads featuring Wambach.
The soccer star featured in local TV and radio ads will be complemented by advertisements in nearly a dozen magazines in New York and Connecticut.
New York Apple also is partnering with Radio Disney on a pair of live events: LarkFEST, a Sept. 21 street festival in Albany; and Central Park Pumpkin Fest, Oct. 26. The association will promote the events by providing point-of-sale materials to retailers in Albany and the New York metro area.
Radio Disney will participate in the live events and run more than 200 ads during the promotional period.
Consumers who like the association’s Facebook page during the promotion will have a chance to win an apple a day for a year.
The Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Board also will be diving into social media. Julie Bancroft, the board’s new executive director, said the organization was not using social media before she was hired in May.
“We’re in the early stages of utilizing social media — Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest — to engage and educate consumers about Pennsylvania and Eastern apples,” she said.
“I do have experience with social media. Social media is also an excellent tool to help consumers learn about and connect with local growers.”
Bancroft said website enhancements are planned to integrate social media and to make PennsylvaniaApples.org “a destination where consumers can learn and share with the Pennsylvania apple industry and its producers.”
Bancroft said one of the new Web features will be a recipe section that will allow visitors to submit and rate recipes on the site as well as to share their favorites on social networks.
Like its New York counterpart, the Pennsylvania organization plans to put an emphasis on local and regional marketing.
“We will continue to make point-of sale-materials available to our direct marketers,” she said.
“This year we will be bolstering our retail programs and will be supplementing those programs by making high-graphic floor displays available to retailers. They will be eye-catching displays that promote local apples.”
Bancroft said the displays, which will be available in September, can accommodate up to eight totes or three Euro trays.
“We are continuing to see an increased demand for locally and regionally grown fruit,” she said.
“Retailers seem to be responding to consumer interest in local and are employing merchandising efforts that emphasize the availability of locally and regionally grown produce.”