How Dole turned a banana into a trophy

The brand achieved exposure to 28 million people in Japan by creating a one-of-a-kind souvenir for runners in the 2014 Tokyo marathon.

The work described here won the Grand Prix in the PR category at Spikes Asia in September.

For Japan’s largest marathon race, the Tokyo Marathon, Dole worked with DENTSU Y&R of Tokyo to create an "ultimate banana" for 200 race finishers—a banana personalized with the runner's name, finish time and messages of congratulatons that the runner received via Facebook upon completion of the race.

The 200 recipients had won an earlier lottery on Facebook to take part in the promotion. The brand printed the information onto bananas (using edible ink, of course) at the race site after the runners crossed the finish line.

The trophies were shared via social media 720,000 times and received coverage on the national news. For a media cost of zero, the brand received total coverage worth over US$1.1 million, and the news reached more than 28 million people. A national market survey showed that 95.3% of people changed their impression of Dole to "extremely good" and 83.5% strongly considered buying Dole’s banana. Sales went up 115% the next month.

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