Zespri gets kids in China to slice 18bn digital kiwis on Fruit Ninja

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Food brand Zespri wanted to create demand for its kiwis in China, where most of the population preferred drinking juice to eating cut fruit. To engage children, the brand partnered with Fruit Ninja on WeChat to create Zespri-branded kiwis. This mobile gaming case study looks at how the brand engaged 680,000 kids across the country completed the 14-Day Challenge in two months.

Case study summary

• Food brand partners popular mobile game in China
• Fruit Ninja adds Zespri-branded kiwis on WeChat game app
• Campaign gets 18 billion Zespri-branded kiwis sliced and diced in Fruit Ninja during the campaign

The challenge

In 2014, 66 percent of Chinese consumers preferred drinking juice to cutting fruit. When asked why, 55 percent said they thought cutting fruit required too much effort. Zespri wanted to change preferences for juice over cut fruit and spark a demand for kiwi fruit among Chinese families. The brand needed a strategy that would make a healthy, boring food truly fun, educational, and even addictive to the target audience of mothers and children.

Typically, fruit brands will target the key purchasers of the household, mothers. However, Zespri knew that winning the market would require both creating an emotional bond with kids and changing mothers’ practical considerations. To connect with kids, Zespri integrated with a mobile video game called Fruit Ninja that launched on WeChat, China’s number one social chat platform. The match between Zespri and Fruit Ninja provided the brand with opportunities to truly shift kids’ perceptions of kiwi. Zespri’s timing of the integration to match the launch of Fruit Ninja on WeChat also gave the brand incredible buzz.

The solution

During the campaign period, Zespri ran ads across subways in Shanghai and Beijing, featuring the collaboration between Zespri and Fruit Ninja. In addition, Zespri leveraged a series of offline events on college campuses as a channel for promoting the integration between brand and game.

The actual integration of Zespri into Fruit Ninja went beyond the simple inclusion of Zespri branded kiwi fruits to be sliced and diced in the game. In fact, Zespri created a “Vitamin-C Badge” for kids who completed the Zespri 14 Day Challenge. This was not a simple “play one round and get extra points” integration, but a combination of game challenges and trivia that lasted for 14 days, training kids on the benefits of kiwi fruit. By completing the 14-Day Challenge, players unlocked a customized Zespri kiwi pet that helped win more kiwi fruit and increase the game score. The pet also lived on in the game even after the campaign period.

The results

• 18 billion Zespri-branded kiwis were sliced and diced in Fruit Ninja during the campaign.
• 680,000 kids completed the 14-Day Challenge in two months.
• 120,000 Zespri branded pets were received in the game and continued on after the campaign period.

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