From mid-April through early May, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services plans to air more Fresh from Florida TV commercials in Florida and select U.S. markets.
The commercials are scheduled to air in the state’s top 10 TV markets and in Raleigh, N.C.; Indianapolis; and Buffalo, N.Y.
The spots, which feature sweet corn, tomatoes and watermelon, are scheduled to run for four weeks. Last spring a successful Florida-based TV campaign ran in February and early March in Grand Rapids, Mich.
The Tallahassee-based agency worked with Publix Super Markets Inc., Lakeland, Fla., during the last round of Florida spots and ran this year’s Michigan ones in partnership with the Byron Township, Mich-based SpartanNash’s D&W Fresh Market stores.
The Michigan pilot project was conducted to see if the commercials could spark shopper interest, said Dan Sleep, a senior analyst with the agency’s division of marketing.
This season, 52 retail chains from 25 countries are expected to participate in the Fresh from Florida campaign, which provides retail incentives to run advertisements featuring the Fresh from Florida logo.
The logo, which helps promote around 20 commodities, including bell peppers, berries, cabbage, citrus, corn, lettuce, potatoes, tomatoes and tropicals, sees strong exposure and consumer recognition throughout the U.S., Sleep said.
The agency wants to see if it can market more Florida produce commodities via the logo, Sleep said.
The average store features the logo in 45 weekly store advertisements, which cummulatively adds up to 483,000 individual store ads, Sleep said.
Up to 13,000 individual stores throughout the U.S. Canada and the rest of the world promoted Florida produce products during the 2012-13 season, and Sleep said he expects similar participation this season.
“It used to be that if we got one Fresh from Florida ad per week from a retailer, we’d be happy,” Sleep said. “Now many retailers do three to eight ads a week, and some have nearly the entire ad featuring Florida products.”
The Global Grid campaign promotes Florida-grown throughout the world, while the Winter Circle program markets to consumers in the Sunshine State and surrounding Southeastern states.
Trying to persuade more shoppers to put corn in their shopping carts, Florida’s sweet corn growers are continuing their shift from traditional media advertising to social media.
For the first time, this year’s campaigns plan to help members of the Maitland-based Sunshine Sweet Corn Farmers of Florida promote their corn through TV commercials.
During Florida’s peak April and May corn months, exchange members plan to focus more outside the store and encourage shoppers to think more about corn before they enter the stores.
The exchange is working with the Florida agriculture department in the April and May TV commercials.
The spots plan to focus on the freshness of sweet corn and show consumers how corn is available during the spring, said Jason Stemm, vice president of the New York-based PadillaCRT, which performs marketing and public relations for the exchange.
In other TV promotions, the exchange plans to work with local chefs, chef instructors, cookbook authors and food personalities to get them to appear in local TV morning shows in cities in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest to promote corn.
“We’re trying to focus on activities that we know can get more attention for sweet corn in the spring,” Stemm said. “There are markets that we can’t get into with paid advertising because of the cost. Atlanta is one that’s very expensive to buy advertising space in but has a lot of great chefs that do a lot of interesting things with corn.”
In addition to making some upgrades to the exchange’s website, www.sunshinesweetcorn.com, the exchange plans to focus on Pinterest and connect with other food influencers in different social media, Stemm said.
The exchange plans to work with food bloggers to publicize the value of corn during its peak spring promotion period, he said.
The Pinterest contest sponsored by the exchange last season proved successful and a second one is planned, he said.
The exchange also plans to work with women’s magazines to encourage them to write articles and feature recipes about corn during the promotional period.
It also plans to continue providing retailers point-of-sale material.