WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Postharvest Information Network

Saturday, February 16, 2019

WSU-TFREC/Postharvest Information Network/Advertising Program Evaluation:
February 1999 to February 2000

Advertising Program Evaluation:
February 1999 to February 2000

Advertising Objective

Increase domestic Washington apple consumption significantly.


  • Washington apple production has increased from 60 million boxes to over 100 million boxes during the past 15 years.
  • Competition to Washington apples has intensified greatly from domestic and imported apples, as well as from other fruit and snacks.
  • Export markets for Washington apples are relatively slow because of economic difficulties in Asia and Latin America.
  • Per capita apple consumption in the United States has remained flat for the past decade.

Advertising Strategy

  • Develop a new Washington apple advertising campaign based on a $250,000 research project conducted over 9 months beginning in Spring 1998.
  • The project was designed to create an ad campaign that would motivate consumers to buy more Washington apples.
  • This project resulted in the "Apple Guy" advertising campaign.

Advertising Tactics

  • Seed the ad program with some retail promotions during year one.
  • Increase the retail promotion mix in year two, beginning in Spring 2000.
    • "Search for Apple Gal" promotion (March 2000)
    • "Feel the Lift" promotion (April 2000)
  • Focus more heavily on retail promotion tied to Apple Guy in year three.
    • "Search for Apple Kid" promotion
    • Retailer "hot buttons" promotions

Results to Date

Washington apple sales appear to be 15% to 20% higher in "advertising markets" than in "non-advertising markets." Consumers who have seen "Apple Guy" commercials like them very much and the commercials seem to be very effective in convincing consumers to buy more Washington apples than consumers who have not seen the commercials.

The commercials have won many awards, including the prestigious "Best of Show" in the 1999 National Agricultural Marketing Association competition.

The $0.15 ad assessment is currently expected to return $0.45 or more each year. Final results will be available next spring.

All in all, the Apple Guy campaign appears to be very successful in increasing consumption of Washington apples in the United States and providing a good rate of return to Washington apple growers.

Tom Swearingen

Washington State Apple Commission
P.O. Box 18, Wenatchee, WA 98807-0018

16th Annual Postharvest Conference, Yakima, WA
March 14-15,  2000

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