Social media campaigns a hit with consumers

03/12/2010 10:17:00 AM
Susie Cable

Looking for a new friend? Check Facebook, where you can befriend the Dole Salad Guide or connect with Earthbound Farm’s organic salad fans.

In an effort to build more personal relationships with consumers, Dole, Earthbound Farm and other fresh-cut processors are using social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.

In January, Dole Fresh Vegetables, Monterey, Calif., with public relations firm DGWB Advertising & Communications, Santa Ana, Calif., expanded its social media marketing program for the relaunched bagged salad line, said Russell Evans, senior brand manager.

The social media campaign is part of a broader packaged salad marketing strategy that is expected to make at least 1.7 billion media impressions through online media, consumer and trade publications, nationwide television spots, outdoor advertising and other strategies, Evans said.

An additional 2.6 billion in-store impressions are expected to reach consumers.

Evans said that response to the digital and interactive elements, including Facebook and Twitter accounts, advertising on Web sites such as Food Network and Hulu, and direct e-mails to consumers, has been good.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by salad enthusiasts’ pent-up demand for salad-based conversations, recipe sharing and inspiration,” he said in the message.

Navigating salads online

Dole’s online salad-pitching salesman is a character called the Dole Salad Guide. He’s a bearded, bespectacled fellow who interacts with consumers, posts salad-related tips and proclaims his love for all things salad on Facebook and Twitter accounts.

In early March, the Dole Salad Guide’s Facebook page had more than 35,000 fans. Dole recently added a Facebook application that allows fans to swap recipes.

Visitors to the Dole salads Web site can use an interactive page to adjust flavor and texture scales to their liking and the site will then suggest salad blends that meet the profiles.

The new Fresh Express Artisan Salads Web site, www.freshexpressartisans.com, has its own ratings for each of four attributes: mild to bold; sweet to zesty; delicate to curly/crispy; and bright to dark.

Salinas, Calif.-based Fresh Express, a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands International, last year launched its first major consumer marketing campaign for value-added salads.

As a result of consumer-targeted messages, sales volumes in test markets have increased by 4% to 9%, said Ed Loyd, director of corporate communications and investor relations.


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