California Cuties are back on store shelves, and Sun Pacific built consumer anticipation through a social media promotion. ( Courtesy Sun Pacific )

California Cuties mandarins are back, and marketer Sun Pacific generated buzz around the fruit’s arrival with a consumer sweepstakes.

The Countdown to Cuties contest used the fruit’s fanbase to grow a community of excited shoppers to generate purchases for the arrival of California Cuties in November. The promotion launched Oct. 22, and more than 78,000 people entered the sweepstakes to win a smartwatch. Consumers shared their countdowns, talking about “what Cuties mean to them and their families, according to a news release.

“We anticipated and were very pleased with this volume of excitement surrounding Cuties season because we know consumers love the brand,” Kate Reeb, director of marketing for Sun Pacific, Pasadena, Calif., said in the release. “This promotion created another opportunity to personalize people’s experience with the Cuties brand and create excitement around the much-anticipated start of a season.

Sun Pacific used #CutiesCountdown, bringing more than 1,400 engagements through Twitter and Facebook during the three-week promotion.