Dole Positions Banana as ‘Nature’s Original Energy Bar’

A summer-long national marketing campaign from Dole Fresh Fruit, which encourages fans of summer fitness and recreational activities to view the banana as one of nature’s best energy sources, draws from a recent study that compares the best-selling fruit in the United States with the hottest sports drinks.

According to the study, “Bananas vs. Sports Drinks as an Energy Source for Athletes,” which was published in May in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE, bananas provide the same energy boost as sports drinks, along with a much bigger nutrition bang and no artificial ingredients, at about one-third the price. The study detailed how researchers at the Dole Nutrition Research Institute at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, N.C., used metabolomics to demonstrate that bananas provide fuel to working muscles just as well as commercially available sports drinks.

Elements of the summer promotion include digital advertising, radio, in-store, PR and social media elements that drive home the energy- and recovery-inducing qualities of bananas. Campaign-specific mobile and Web pages target banana fans inside and beyond the store with nutritional information and healthy, high-energy recipes.

The energy-themed initiative -- the first to target fitness fans and outdoor enthusiasts as well as mainstream banana consumers -- is part of Dole’s year-long “Go Bananas Every Day” campaign, which aims to make bananas an even bigger part of Americans’ daily routine.

“Everyone assumes bananas to be one of nature’s best, most efficient energy sources, but until this study, a direct comparison of bananas to sports drinks had never been undertaken,” noted David Bright, VP of marketing for Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Fresh Fruit, a division of the Dole Food Co. “Now that we’ve proven once and for all that bananas are a superior natural energy source, it made sense to devote our summer program to the good news.”

To support the research and related campaign, Dole has rolled out the Nature’s Original Energy Bar Adventure Sweepstakes, which consumers can enter on the Dole Bananas Facebook page for a chance to win their choice of high-energy adventure trip.

The national campaign will be backed by intensified, local-market efforts in Baltimore; Charlotte, S.C.; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle. These markets, which have been dubbed “Top Banana Cities” for 2012, have been chosen by Dole for major advertising, in-store, online, social media and public relations activity that will urge banana eaters to up their intake of the fruit.

All summer long, Dole reps will pay homage to each city’s restaurants, bars and other food businesses with a special banana connection, or that push the commonly accepted boundaries of banana cuisine. The company will also collaborate with area registered dietitians, chefs, and food, fitness and family bloggers to inform residents about bananas via media and public appearances, sampling and tasting events.


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