Washington, US - Mexico is one of the United States' biggest trading partners, with about $18.4 billion worth of agricultural products exported to Mexico last year. With that kind of presence, the California Table Grape Commission, Pear Bureau Northwest, and the Washington Apple Commission teamed up with the popular kids program, "Lazytown," to promote healthy eating in Mexico.
In addition to being one of the biggest importers of American produce, Mexico also has a childhood obesity crisis. The country leads the world in childhood obesity rates, and a recent symposium on the topic estimated that 70 percent of Mexican children are overweight. In light of such a serious problem, and given the strong ties between the two countries, the apple, pear, and grape industries in the US decided to do something to help.
"The US fresh fruit participants have partnered in Mexico with Lazytown, a global television show for children," explained Rebecca Lyons, international marketing director for the Washington Apple Commission. "The theme of the show is to motivate kids to make healthy lifestyle choices."
The Spanish-dubbed version of the show airs in Mexico on Discovery Kics Latin America and is a good fit for the effort to combat childhood obesity as the characters teach kids to be healthy through positive examples.
For instance, the main character, called "Sportacus," eats fruits and vegetables, called "sports candy," to get the energy to foil the show's villain, "Robbie Rotten," who's always trying to make the show's kids lazy. With that kind of positive reinforcement, Lyons believes they'll be able to influence how kids think about food and daily exercise.
"The show uses a unique and creative approach to encourage kids and their families to consume fruits and vegetables," she said.
The promotional campaign, which is in its third year, will feature in-store promotions in Mexican retail chains featuring the Sportacus character from the show as well as messaging featuring the term "sports candy" on point of sale materials. The goal is to promote the consumption of fruit among Mexican children in order to promote a healthy lifestyle and enhance the presence of US grapes, apples, and pears.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for participating US fresh fruits to tie into the Lazytown message," said Lyons. "We can raise awareness of our role in a healthy lifestyle with the ultimate goal of expanding our product consumption in Mexico."The promotion will run throughout November with a focus on grapes and pears, and it will run again in March of next year with a focus on apples and pears.