(Dec. 2) VISALIA, Calif. — California stone fruit growers and shippers approved a $4.3 million domestic marketing budget to fund the 2006 California Tree Fruit Agreement marketing programs at its fall committee meetings Nov. 30.

CTFA plans to execute programs that can be customized by the retailer, shipper or partner company, said Blair Richardson, CTFA president.

The Apple iTunes promotion is set for a second run in 2006, in addition to a consumer promotion that is likely to partner stone fruit with a major online vendor where fruit purchases equal redeemable points.

The name of the online vendor was not released, as final agreements were being made, said Sheri Mierau, vice president of marketing for the agreement.

Some 243,000 iTunes coupons were printed during this year’s summer promotion, which converts into more than 725,000 pounds of peaches, plum and nectarine sales, CTFA reported. About 3,000 retailers participated in the promotion.

Redemption on the retailer’s part worked well after the program started, and retailers reported strong excitement from consumers, said Mike Rolph, president of MJR Media, Fresno. MJR Media, an advertising and promotion agency that was hired by CTFA and works with the agreement to design and implement marketing programs.

“It ended up being a pretty quick and easy redeemable process. I feel there will be more enthusiasm and sales this next year,” Roth said.

CROSS-PROMOTION

Also in the 2006 schedule, there are plans to cross-promote with retail items outside of the produce aisle. CTFA is planning a multidepartmental promotion to include a wine company and dairy product in two promotions: Summer Sangria and Peaches & Cream.

The Peaches & Cream promotion will tie-in with an ice cream, whipped cream or cream product, Roth said.

CTFA also plans to build on the acceptance of the 90-day challenge, which debuted this year as a Web-based program where consumers monitored daily stone fruit consumption and received recipes and wellness information.

This year, the program was strictly public relations based — featuring news releases, radio and television interviews — and in 2006 it is set to be expanded to include incentives, cross-promotions and interactive games to entice more consumer participation, Roth said.