Bananas tied to home video release

After making “Rio” the first Hollywood pic the company has helped promote, Chiquita is going bananas for Fox’s homevideo launch of the toon.

The company will back the DVD and Blu-ray release Aug. 2 with a campaign that pushes the pic in most supermarkets across the country, as well as 600 Walmart stores that sell food.

Like the theatrical campaign, Chiquita’s homevid push is global, guaranteeing Fox considerable exposure at retail, where it traditionally doesn’t spend marketing coin. Rival Dole has backed several pics in the past, including Universal’s “Curious George” and WB’s “Space Chimps.”

Effort will include in-store signage and coupons, featuring the dancing Chiquita Banana lady with the “Rio” disc in a campaign that will involve 900 million bananas in North America alone. Promotion runs through September.

Peel-off coupons to save $3 on the “Rio” disc will appear on 3 million Chiquita Mini Banana and three-pound banana bags, and stickers will be placed on 2.6 million avocados and 2 million pineapple hang tags.

Promo will be backed by online and print ads.

Chiquita opted to return to “Rio” after its campaign around the film, which earned $476.4 million worldwide, paid off for the company.

A website tied to the film that included games and a sweepstakes for a trip to Rio in Brazil generated more than 400 million uniques for Chiquita. Company plastered more than 250 million stickers on bananas in North America leading up to the film’s bow.

The theatrical campaign was “new and unique to us, and we wanted to see how it would work before coming back for the DVD” in a bigger way, said Craig Stephen, VP and general manager of bananas and Fresh Select from Chiquita.

Chiquita is one of 50 brands that will promote the “Rio” homevideo release, priced at $15 for DVD and $20 for Blu-ray.

“‘Rio’ quickly became a global phenomenon at the box office, and we are aiming to continue this success in the home entertainment window,” said Mary Daily, executive VP of marketing, North America for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. “Bananas are the No. 1 item purchased in supermarkets, as such, our partnership with Chiquita is a wonderful promotional opportunity and a natural fit with ‘Rio.'”

Given the way bananas are shipped, the ads won’t appear with fruit sold in convenience stores like 7-Eleven or coffee shops like Starbucks, which have grown into a major mover of bananas.

“We get contacted all the time by different people who want to associate with Chiquita,” said Stephen, since it’s a global brand and bananas have a household penetration of 96%. “We bring something to the table.”

The company passes on most offers but agreed to co-promote “Rio” since the film afforded the company an opportunity to market its fruit to kids as part of a healthy-eating initiative.

“The use of the ‘Rio’ characters let us do that,” Stephen said. “‘Rio’ is a fun movie and we believe Chiquita is a fun brand, as well.”

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