NatureSweet, the incredibly successful company bringing small tomatoes to America’s tables, is a pioneer in produce marketing strategies. CEO Bryant Ambelang emphasized the importance of building a brand in the article, “NatureSweet Builds a $200 Million+ Premium Produce Brand.”
Today, we’ll focus on NatureSweet’s marketing strategies. The company primarily targets the mom market using the consumer profile of Ana, a mom between the ages of 25-45 with three children. Her family’s diet and nutrition are a primary concern, and she experiences emotional stress when she has to throw away produce.
NatureSweet, along with The Richards Group, explored two different marketing approaches to appeal to moms—the first focuses on Mom nurturing her family with high-quality, homegrown tomatoes, while the second is more clearly linked to the product benefit of being “the best tasting tomato in the world.”
It can be a difficult balancing act to get the right appeal—connecting with moms while highlighting the product benefits. NatureSweet’s approaches seem to make sense. Let’s take a look.
Marketing Campaign – “Pampered”
This emotional marketing campaign appeals to Mom’s sense of nurturing her family and celebrates the matriarch. It shows how the tomato plant grows over time and is nurtured, with the leaves protecting the tomato. NatureSweet grows “the most pampered tomato in the world.” Consumers certainly approve of this campaign, with off-the-chart scores for likeability.
Marketing Campaign – “Triage”
This humorous marketing campaign builds on the key insight that Mom likes advertisements that make her laugh—87% of moms says humor is an appealing approach, as shown below in the Marketing to Moms Coalition’s State of the American Mom Research.
This campaign shows the tomato section of the store and the unpackaged tomatoes who are in a ‘war zone’ because consumers squeeze them. A nurse tomato calls for a tourniquet because of the damage, while a doctor tomato examines an x-ray of internal damage. The key insight is, “You can’t tell what a tomato tastes like by squeezing it.” The only way to ensure purchasing a great-tasting tomato is to buy NatureSweet brand. This advertisement tests in the top 5% of executions, is very appealing to moms, and the target consumer starts to question their assumptions about squeezing tomatoes. The focus is always “Just Picked. NatureSweet.”
This emphasis links to the product benefit of “the best tasting tomato in the world.” It also suggests it’s easy to find NatureSweet brands in the store because of the distinctive yellow bowl packaging.
Comparing the Pampered and Triage approaches shows that the latter is more compelling—it focuses on the NatureSweet brand in a way that gives moms a laugh. Pampered, while it appeals to Mom’s nurturing nature, is not as clearly linked to the product benefits. While both campaigns have benefit and show that a company can take different, complementary approaches that align with consumer insights and business strategies, the “Triage” approach will receive more focus given its more powerful impact. I look forward to other case studies from other brands that have faced this type of challenge in crafting communication to resonate with moms.