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Maestrani and Avelines Princesses:
A Royal Success Story In The Making

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Introduction by: Peter Marshall

 

Maestrani is a 170 year old privately-owned Swiss company that has been manufacturing a unique range of fine chocolates for adults and fun chocolates for children alike. Avelines Princesses is their latest launch and it has enjoyed resounding success where promoted. This is the story that lies behind the Princesses launch. Just think pink!

I caught up with Faozia Math-Ly-Roun, Maestrani’s Senior Key Account Manager Business Development and Travel Retail. It’s a great and building story.

Peter Marshall (PM): Faozia, Avelines as a brand is 100 years young. You recently had a very successful promotion at Geneva Airport. How did this promotion differentiate itself from other chocolate promotions we generally see at airports?

Faozia Math-Ly-Roun (FMLR): Yes, Avelines, our Swiss praliné born in Geneva, is 100 years old, and Avelines Princesses, the new Avelines flavour, is only 3 months “on earth” … and our unique way of promoting did touch thousands of Princesses around the world. Our pink hot spot at the centre of Geneva airport with the slogan “Life is better in pink and with Swiss chocolate” did include many emotional touch points for all passengers.

We have dedicated this promotion to all the Princesses in the world (Princesses are all women, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties, friends), but also to all travellers looking for a girly, romantic, glamorous, or fancy special gift. Before the taste –  which is also very important –  there is the look, the emotions and the messaging, and this is what we have highlighted during this royal touch promotion.

Avelines Princesses is a most delicious Swiss made almond praliné presented in a very pink and sparkling gift box. But not only a fantastic Swiss praline, it’s also but a full bunch of happiness factors to share with your loved ones.

And now just after the successful launch and birthday celebration at its place of origin in Geneva with Lagardere, the promotion is running at Zurich airport with Avolta.

PM: So, forget Barbie this past year, it’s all about life is better in Pink and tiaras with Avelines?

FMLR: When you see the pink box of Avelines Princesses, you may think it’s just another fruity chocolate with a strawberry or raspberry flavour. But it’s not. Avelines was born in Geneva, the city of banks, watches and chocolates, and Amandes Princesses is another chocolate specialty also from Geneva: whole almonds coated in chocolate, combined with a delicious blend of cocoa paste and cocoa powder. The name Amandes Princesses is simply unique for a chocolate, and Avelines is also a melodious, sweet name… we thought: let’s combine and get the best of both with “Avelines Princesses”! And so, the idea was born at the end of 2022.

With the acquisition of Avelines, the Geneva-based chocolate brand since 1922, it was time to create a new recipe (until now milk, praline, and dark recipes.) But instead of having a whole almond that’s not easy for everyone to crunch (we take care of the teeth of young and old alike…), we combine almond pieces with a delicious blend of cocoa and fruity Madagascan Bourbon vanilla flavours. And for the packaging, we decided to opt for a royal touch of pink and gold! As you can see, Swiss chocolate boxes are generally more traditional. With Avelines Princesses, we’ve got more than just a touch of glam, we’ve also got Swiss quality and our commitment to sustainability, all in a chocolate box.

And as luck would have it, 2023 was the year of the launch of the hit film Barbie. Believe it or not, it’s almost an alignment of stars! You can relate or connect but we had no clue about it… no connection  with Hollywood.

PM: Just developing this, and it’s interesting in terms of a brand marketing reference, why didn’t you simply use “Life is better in pink with Avelines” rather than “with Swiss Chocolate”?

FMLR: As a Swiss chocolate brand producing all our chocolate in Switzerland, we love the idea of promoting the world-renowned reputation of Swiss chocolate quality through the extraordinary work of the most important and iconic Swiss brands with the use of the Swiss cross. And was said earlier, Swiss chocolate brands generally have a traditional approach in terms of communication or packaging. We decided to bring that glam touch to the Swiss chocolate market. So: “Life is better in pink and with Swiss chocolate”! Glamour Pink to attract the passengers  – and not only women and Swiss quality chocolate, but a travel retail exclusive to convert them, too…these elements always give a good reason to buy in duty free stores.

PM:  It’s what you built around the activation that is worth discussing. A selfie competition, limited edition gift tins, the Princess Wheel, the benefit to the Swiss Cancer Foundation and there’s much more, isn’t there?

FMLR: To celebrate the new Avelines recipe “Avelines Princesses”, we wanted first to invite the passengers to take a selfie and reward the best posts. But we quickly noticed that not all passengers were ready for that, so we changed our initial activation plan and created the Avelines Princesses wheel game with the chance to win on the spot essential Princess travel gifts from the most popular brands also present in Travel retail. These included Mavala Switzerland with an exclusive travel beauty set, Kusmi tea Paris offering a rose-flavoured green tea, Caran d’Ache Geneve with a pink pen and the exclusive and iconic Swiss brand ON Shoes with a total of at least over 100 gifts.

Spin the Avelines Princesses wheel and always win something… this last-minute game has  really been a hit among all passengers ready to taste, play and buy our chocolates. That is what I like working in this travel retail industry, you can measure the efficiency –  or not –  right away and adapt quickly.

The idea of the activation was to promote the modern princess who loves to travel but is well equipped: beauty to look good, a healthy drink to feel good, an elegant pen to write notes or sign big contracts… and very comfortable sneakers to travel in style. All of these are even more desirable when displayed altogether in a show case with our Avelines Princesses chocolate.

And our Avelines Princesses brand ambassadors led the way, wearing a princess tiara,  pink Mavala nails and Cloud nova form Magnet/Aster ON shoes during the activation. It’s not every day you meet princesses offering some chocolate tasting in airports!

In discussion with brand partner Mavala, which has already supported the Swiss Cancer Foundation for many years, we joined the program by offering the power of the pink ribbon from Mavala with every purchase of an Avelines Princesses gift set. Travellers had the opportunity to donate on the spot and all donations went to the Swiss Cancer Foundation. We had our activation in October –  Pink October –  also a good timing.

This is what I call the magic cross-selling activation combo for travel retail: a new approach to sales, a dynamic and welcoming brand ambassador introducing a new product with a cross-promotional activation with iconic brands from different categories. Something unique for travel retail activities, with not a digital service but a full retail service and direct interaction and connection with passengers. This is the main difference with other channels, and we strongly focus on this difference.

The Avelines Princesses activation is exclusive, new, glamorous, and attractive. We recognise that Avelines is still a niche chocolate brand with strong development potential –  not only in Swiss airports –  that can win over customers young and old across the world. But, above all, to attract them with a differentiating concept, and exclusively  for travel retail and the great pleasure of travellers.

PM: So how did customers respond? Just how successful was this activation?

FMLR: Just check the pictures of our happy passengers queuing to spin the wheel and spending time to take a picture wearing Princess tiara as well as filling up the shopping basket with our Avelines Princesses gift bags. The main reason? It is new, and they can only buy  Avelines Princesses at the airport. Who are the most frequent flyers and shoppers? Well, airline crew were also more than happy to discover our Avelines chocolate brand and to buy many boxes to bring back home where they are not yet available.We love those new Avelines travel ambassadors as well! See pictures

PM: Did you find that there was  much cross-selling to the other products in your Princesses portfolio?

FMLR: We wanted to initiate the idea of cross-gifting with the activation on Place Centrale at Geneva airport where only chocolate could be sold. And now with the Avelines Princesses current activation inside the Zurich Duty Free we can suggest the idea to passengers already carrying bottles to complete their duty shopping basket with our Avelines Princesses.

And our best argument we are happy to share with you…it’s “good morning/afternoon, Sir, do you have Princesses at home?” This is the secret and fun question to ask and convince male passengers to buy at least one box. But in reality there are always more Princesses around so all the more reason to buy more boxes ????

There are now plenty of opportunities to suggest and set up Avelines Princesses in-store as the perfect, affordable complementary gift. The possibilities are endless, and yes, Avelines Princesses is the perfect product to cross-sell with all the other categories – whether Avelines Princesses & Champagne, Avelines Princesses & Beauty, Avelines Princesses in a fancy bag. There are so many possibilities for any occasion: birthdays, weddings, Valentine’s Day, a new baby shower or a bachelorette party. Or just to treat yourself! Avelines Princesses will always make a delightful and striking impression to celebrate or create precious moments.

PM: And was Lagardere happy with the results, too?

You can ask the team at LTR Switzerland, but I’m guessing that they, like many others, are in love with  Avelines Princesses and the sales results performance for a new product. New duty-free shopping and playful experiences are always a hit for customers. Happy customers, happy operators, and happy airport authorities!

Of course, we would like to take this opportunity to thank Lagardere TR Switzerland (Pascal Le Droff, Marie Lafille, Olivier Bussien, Julie Fratta, Alain Do) and Avolta Zurich Duty Free team (Lorenz Asch, Hilola Shoazizova, Laura Meuter) for their strong support and trust to make this happen in the best conditions and also not afraid to wear the princess tiara! And of course the Globe Travel retail team (Heloise Dos Reis Canuto, Andrea Burger) providing the best professional and fun-promoting service to our customers.

By the way, our Avelines Princesses are back again at Geneva airport soon with AGS and will be landing soon in  an Asian airport!

PM: Moving on, you pride yourself as a company with sustainability at its centre. Does Avelines Princesses tick all the boxes (no pun intended) in this respect?

FMLR: Our company purpose is:  “We share our happiness and make the world sustainably happier little by little”. One of the key elements is FairTaste. Quality at its centre and sustainability on top I would say! This applies for all our products and, of course, our delicious Avelines Princesses pralines are also using only all natural ingredients, fairtrade certified cocoa and Swiss milk. All packed in a glamourous and recyclable gift box.

PM:  So what can we look forward to next year from Maestrani and Avelines?

FMLR: Well, dear Peter, you’d better check your mailbox soon! At Maestrani, a family-owned business company for over 170 years as you know, we’re also proud of our team and regarding the Avelines Princesses development we also have inhouse our Avelines Princes ????! We (or shall I say I) could only select 12 of them to fit in…it was a tough competition. Let me just say that these “Avelines Princes” work with passion to bring the best of Swiss chocolate to everyone, every day, in a unique way –  not only selecting the best ingredients and best products but also respecting the most important  Maestrani people and all Maestrani partner people.

So I hope you will like our Avelines Princesses calendar as much as I do.

PM: Ah, so that’s what you are referring to!

FMLR:  Yes, it’s a limited printed edition only offered to our business partners, just a fun way to celebrate the new year. To find out more, contact us or come and visit us in Flawil to discover our happiness factory. We wish the entire TR industry a very happy new year with lots of fun, a prosperous business, and delicious, attractive sustainable chocolate to enjoy every day!

We will  keep working and dreaming on fun and sustainable projects. Let’s discuss more  about this  in Singapore!

PM: For sure. Thanks for your time, Faozia

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