Zespri: How Zespri Got Kids Across China to Slice 18 Billion Kiwis

Campaign Summary

Zespri wanted to create demand for its kiwis in China, where a majority of the population preferred drinking juice to eating cut fruit. To connect emotionally with children and create excitement around the fruit, the brand partnered with Fruit Ninja, a game that launched on the popular mobile app WeChat. Fruit Ninja featured Zespri-branded kiwis, and players could participate in a challenge that unlocked a Zespri pet.


Objective and Context:

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.

Target Audience:

The target audience was Chinese children.

Creative Strategy:

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.


Overall Campaign Execution:

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.

Mobile Execution:

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.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)
  • 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.

Categories: Marketing within a Mobile Gaming Environment | Industries: Food & Beverage | Objectives: Marketing within a Mobile Gaming Environment | Awards: Gold Winner