US Chiquita Despicable Me

Despicable Me's Minions are renowned banana fans

Fresh produce multinational Chiquita has signed its biggest ever global licensing deal, teaming up with Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment to promote the release of animated film Despicable Me 2 and sell more fruit in the process.

Describing the venture as an 'exciting partnership', Chiquita said it hoped the promotion would 'help drive sales and excitement' in retail outlets this summer, buoyed by the anticipated success of a sequel to what was the tenth largest animated motion picture in US history and which featured bananas prominently.

For a limited period, consumers in a total of 27 countries around the world will find special a second label on Chiquita bananas featuring the so-called Minions, characters from the film. In the US, consumers will be able to scan the labels using their smartphones and enter a competition to win a trip for four to Hawaii, as well as other prizes.

Chiquita has also launched a micro-site dedicated to the partnership,featuring a Minion-maker, activities, recipes, a photo gallery, downloads and other attractions including a label-based competition called Sticker Showdown.

'Despicable Me was such a success, and the Minions stole the hearts of people everywhere. Since bananas are featured in both films as one of the Minions' favourite foods, this is just a natural fit for Chiquita,' said Rob Adams, senior marketing manager at Chiquita Brands. 'This represents an excellent opportunity to showcase our iconic brand, and we're honored to be part of Despicable Me 2.'

The Minions and their favorite healthy snack will be taking to social media to engage with fans and spread the word about Despicable Me 2. Consumers will be able to interact with the film's promoters by following Chiquita on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.