MILWAUKIE, Ore. — Consumer advertising is helping consumers understand when winter pears are at their juicy and sweet best.
During the third year of national consumer advertising, ads will be placed in Cooking Light, Weight Watchers, Bon Appétit and other publications in the November through February issues, with the first ads in magazines hitting newsstands in early to mid-October, said Cristie Mather, director of communications for the Pear Bureau Northwest, Milwaukie.
Mather said that in 2006, only about 8% of consumers knew how to tell when a winter pear was ripe.
From 2006-10, the bureau ramped up nonpaid consumer communications focused on ripening messages. In that time period, the effort helped to double the percentage of consumer who said they knew how to check pears for ripeness, to 16%.
While encouraged by that gain, Pear Bureau officials thought a paid national advertising campaign could pay benefits.
After the first year of consumer advertising, a survey showed the percentage of consumers who know how to check for ripeness rose to 18%.
The just-concluded second year of consumer advertising netted a big increase. A recent survey showed 30% of consumer said they know how to check for pear ripeness.
Now entering the third year of the campaign, Mather said she is looking forward to still more positive results from the campaign. The content of the ad depicts a texting conversation between an average consumer and a pear. The average consumer texts a question to the pear about ripening and the pear answers and shows the pear being used in a recipe.
The campaign’s first year listed only a website on the ads, but the second year of the ads incorporated text messages. The ad asked consumers to text the bureau’s to see if they were instant winners of a box of pears.
Mather said the bureau gave away more than 200 boxes of pears to readers across the country, with 27,000 people texting in response to the ad.
More than half of those agreed to continue to receive messages from the bureau.
In the third year of the campaign, Mather said no pear giveaways are planned. Instead, readers will be encouraged to text to get a link to a featured recipe and the option to continue to receive messages — mostly recipes — about pears.
Mather said the campaign specifically targets food magazines that have a nutrition bent to them, with women readers in the 25-54 age range.
The bureau also has an active presence in social media, recently starting an Instagram account.