Two leading blueberry producing states in the Southeast plan to scale back their seasonal marketing and promotions.
After investing in larger promotional programs last season, which included TV advertisements, Florida and Georgia blueberry grower associations plan to limit promotional expenditures and focus on publicizing their berries more through less-expensive social media venues.
Last year, the Florida Blueberry Growers Association in Bartow promoted the state’s berries through video advertisements on Delta Airlines flights and through advertisements in consumer and trade publications.
The group received some feedback from the promotions but response wasn’t as big as the association had hoped, said Bill Braswell, the group’s former president and owner of the Auburndale, Fla.-based Polkdale Farms and Juliana Plantation and farm manager of Bartow-based Clear Springs Packing LLC.
One promotion it plans to continue, however, is an e-mail campaign directed toward U.S. and Canadian retail buyers.
The promotion was a “home run” last season, Braswell said. Increasing its social media presence, the group has started a consumer-oriented website, www.blueberriesfromflorida.com.
The group plans to post recipes and other information on how consumers can use blueberries in meals, Braswell said.
For the second year, the group plans to work with the Tallahassee-based Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in the Kids in Kitchen program.
The program includes classroom handouts and simple recipes that children can prepare with their parents and through a television commercial that plans to promote the state’s berries in March and April, Braswell said.
“We just touched on social media last year, so we got a little bump in response from our late start,” he said. “People now depend on it for many things. You just get so much more bang for your buck.”