Fresh produce advertising: when you should avoid it

(this article was originally published on on January 20, 2015)

Many companies, at a certain stage, thinks that advertising their fresh produce may be a good idea.

Well, sometimes it is – but other times it is not.

Let’s see an example (yes, it is a real case!)

Joe is a medium-size grape grower.

He sells his products using his own brand, originally created by his father, the founder of the company.

He is tired of having to fight the traditional price wars with his competitors. Joe is thinking about this when his phone rings.

A salesman from a local TV channel is calling.

“Joe”, he starts, “I know your problem. The only way to get out of the price war is by advertising your brand.”

“Joe”, he follows, “I have a great offer for you. With a very small investment, your grapes can be on our TV channel in no time!”

Joe is tempted to accept. Indeed, he likes the idea of seeing his brand on TV, he feels it could be the right reward for all the work he has put into his company. Besides, all his friends would be very impressed!

After some reflection, Joe calls back and accepts the offer.

This type of situation is not really out of the ordinary.

Many companies selling all kinds of products start investing in communication this way, almost by chance.

(ehi, let’s make a pause here: if you are interested in this article, why not subscribing to our Pisani Produce Marketing free newsletter? you wil not miss any new article and also get the free e-book “Introduction to fresh produce marketing”)

The intention is obviously positive.

Communicating is a must, if you want to give value to what you are offering and to avoid the price wars.

Problem is, in most cases these initiatives bring very few results.

This is mainly caused by two problems:

1) communicating is only one of the steps in the marketing process, and one of the last

Before investing in advertising, a produce company should work to develop a differentiated and distinctive brand, and an interesting product offer for retailers and consumers. And should make sure products are widely distributed in stores. Many companies seem to ignore this, and they jump directly into advertising. But if you do advertise brands and products that are not relevant to consumers, or not easily accessible in stores, success is very hard to come by.

2) advertising is like antibiotics. Either you get the full dose, or it does not work.

Throwing a few thousand dollars into commercials without a full marketing plan does not bring any


In most cases, it is better to save that money and invest it in other things: even without a big budget one can be successful in marketing.

These are the main problems that make many communication campaigns simply a waste of money.

And that leads to the idea that sometimes you would be better off without advertising.

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