Georgia’s commodity groups are taking to the friendly skies and going to the ballpark to promote some of the state’s leading fruit and vegetables.

Delta Airlines, Atlanta Braves campaigns set for Georgia produce

The La Grange-based Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association plans to use funds it received from a specialty crop grant administered through the Georgia Department of Agriculture to promote four of the state’s leading commodities in commercials airing on Delta Airlines flights.

The ads, which promote peaches, blueberries, watermelon and Vidalia onions, will direct viewers to a new website,, so consumers can learn more about the Georgia-grown commodities.

The commercials will air on overhead and seatback monitors through Delta’s In-Flight Entertainment Network in 2-minute spots the commodity groups helped produce.

The commercials are expected to air on an estimated 17,375 flights after the in-flight movie and be viewed by more than 2.6 million passengers.

The spots will also be an option in the Delta Lifestyle 365 program, which an estimated 1.5 million additional passengers view each month. Delta’s Sky magazine and its entertainment website are also set to promote the commodities.

The video features focus on Vidalia onions and blueberries in May and will switch to peaches and watermelon in June.

Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, said the industry came up with the idea to promote some of its crops generically during a roundtable discussion at the group’s Jan. 6-9 Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference in Savannah, Ga.

“This is kind of a test to see how the Georgia Grown banner works and if we can pull some commodities together and cooperatively spend promotion funds and benefit everyone in the process,” Hall said.

“There are a phenomenal number of people who fly on Delta, so this should be a very strong promotional program.”

Hall said the video program will show consumers the quality of Georgia produce and help promote the Georgia Grown brand.

A $17,000 block grant, matched by the respective commodity groups, supports the effort.

Land of the Braves

On watermelon, the association plans to step up to the plate in its Atlanta Braves baseball promotion.

Last year, the Georgia Watermelon Association ran 10 advertisements displayed in the stadium’s electronic banners during July 4 weekend games.

This year, the group is increasing its advertising presence to 25 spots.

The announcements are part of messages that flash between innings.

Hall said last year’s sponsorship reaped benefits from more visibility than just the paid advertisements.

“Listening to the game on the radio after the promotion, the play-by-play announcers talked about the watermelon queens giving away samples, and said the watermelon was the best they had ever had,” Hall said.

“That unpaid commentary was a great promotion that gave us tremendous results.”

The Atlanta Braves promotions are scheduled for July 2-3 games.

To help promote watermelon at retail, the watermelon association plans in-store promotions involving point-of-sale material and samplings at up to 25 supermarkets throughout Georgia in June and July.

Hall said last year’s promotions went well and said the promotions helped stores’ increase sales.

Georgia Grown

The Georgia Grown promotion program focuses on in-state efforts with limited retail promotions.

Managed by the Georgia agriculture department, the Georgia Grown program publicizes the state’s produce to its residents by funding state commodity groups through block grants it receives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

The agency provides its Georgia Grown labels for use on cartons and marketing materials of growers, packers, shippers and others that market products who certify that 51% of their products originate in Georgia.