When Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, the largest exporter of South African apples and pears and one of the most recognisable fresh produce brands in South Africa, hired BIGBrave to design and build a game that would engage, educate and entertain the next generation of consumers, they had no idea that it might be a global first.
Tru-Cape’s Marketing Director Conrad Fick says that the company approached Red Cherry Interactive to recommend a service provider who would understand the marketing imperatives and could create the game on time and within budget and the relationship between Tru-Cape and BIGBrave was born.
Fruit-Full, the game that is free to download from iTunes and Android stores, has already had over 3000 downloads with 873 active players at his last check. “To think that this game, clearly a marketing tool, has received a 4.5 score out of five by players is very exciting for us. We also like that 75% of the players are in South Africa but that the game is also being enjoyed globally. 85% of the users are on Android devices with the majority of the players being females which also fits Tru-Cape’s primary target market perfectly. The statistics tell us that the app has been launched 31, 700 times which suggests that people are playing the game more than 10 times each. We certainly don’t get this level of brand engagement with TV, print or even social media so this is very meaningful.”
BIGBrave’s Managing Director Brett Lindsay explains: “When BIGBrave was approached to create a digital game for the Tru-Cape brand, understandably, we knew very little about the process of fruit production in the Cape, but this was, after all, the point for Tru-Cape: people did not know enough about fruit production to be able to see the real value in the product.
“Tru-Cape really had two main goals, firstly, they wanted to create a unique and innovative platform to reach their audience and educate them on the highly advanced fruit production process. Secondly, they wanted to get to know their market,” he says.
Lindsay explains that in order to better understand the Tru-Cape process, the team from BIGBrave visited an active fruit farm in Grabouw. “Our two day visit allowed us to experience the farming process up close which provided us with a much deeper understanding into what needed to be reflected in the final product we developed. We learned about the preparation, planting, growing, harvesting, transporting, cleaning, sorting, packing and distribution of the fruit. We learned how Tru-Cape manages to get quality apples and pears not only to the South African market but also to the vast global markets to which Tru- Cape distributes fruit”, he says adding: “At BIGBrave we have a philosophy around Engaging Content in that it must Entertain, Inform and Empower. With this in mind, we considered many different types of gameplay options. The idea of the Fruit-Full game came from in-depth research around current game styles available online today. We researched games like FarmVille, Township, SimCity and worked towards creating a game that would answer the Engaging Content Philosophy.
“It was important that users of the game were not only engaged in playing the game, but that they also engaged with the Tru-Cape brand. We did this through a competition that was run country- wide which was purposefully structured around incentivising users to play the game and work their way through the full Tru-Cape cycle from planting seeds to selling the fruit.
“This had a dual-benefit for Tru-Cape in that players were being educated about the care and time it takes at every point of the production cycle of the Tru-Cape business while also building interest around the game and the Tru-Cape brand.”
According to Lindsay, a second strategy was implemented to incentivise the engaged audience to purchase a Tru-Cape product in-store and to use the barcode on the packaging to redeem “sun points” – a valuable in-game commodity which also met one of the company’s business imperatives: driving the sales of South African apples and pears.
As users progress through the stages of the game they learn about the various areas of fruit farming and the various varieties of apples and pears. This happens through different characters popping up with a message about the process or the product. They are also able to earn Tru-Coins along the way as they grow and sell their fruit in the market place in the game which also includes variables such as managing cargo transport, multiple pack-houses and a juicing plant.”
Lindsay says that they are extremely grateful to their user-base who have been open to adopting the game and who took the time to engage with Tru-Cape through the Fruit-Full app. “As far as Brand-Centric gaming goes in South Africa, there aren’t many courageous brands willing to test amazing opportunities around digital engagement through a mobile app. We are proud to have had the opportunity to partner with Tru-Cape and Red Cherry around the conception, design and development of this game and we look forward to future opportunities to make it even more Fruit-Full.”
Fick says that for Tru-Cape this game amplifies the company’s efforts to grab the attention of young minds away from junk food and confectionary brands, all with far greater marketing spend, towards apples and pears as a natural product that is a healthy snack and recommended part of the daily diet. “We have already had success with our Tru-Cape Kidz characters Danny Smith, Topsy Red, Perry Packham etc, the range of soft toys, collectable miniatures and the mascots that always cause great excitement at Tru-Cape events and in-store, that this game cements our communications strategy aimed at tomorrow’s apple and pear purchasers.”
Tru-Cape Managing Director, Roelf Pienaar says that as a business that used technology to better manage its processes and which had among its growers some of the youngest and most innovative in the country, that finding a technology solution to continuing the engagement with the Tru-Cape brand was something the company could get behind. “Apart from driving sales which is fundamental to any business, we especially liked that this game educated users about the vagaries of agriculture which we believe will help consumers better understand that the factory that produces apples and pears is without a roof. Despite our best efforts, nature will always have the final say.”
PREPARED BY BRIAN BERKMAN PUBLICITY 083 441 8765