(UPDATED COVERAGE, March 11) Wendy Brannen, the woman behind the monster marketing campaign that saw onions make mainstream media headlines is leaving her position as executive director of the Vidalia Onion Committee to take a job with the U.S. Apple Association.
Brannen said she will join the McLean, Va.-based apple association as director of consumer health and public relations on April 22.
Details of plans to succeed her were not included in the committee’s March 8 news release announcing her plans to move to the apple.
Brannen has led the committee since July 2005, introducing the sweet Georgia onions to social media marketing and scoring a consumer sales boost of almost 30% when she spearheaded the “Ogres & Onions” campaign.
The Vidalia partnership with DreamWorks Animation featured the movie character Shrek, an ogre with a taste for onions.
Ogres & Onions landed Vidalia onions on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, on ABC World News with Dianne Sawyer, Fox Business, in the New York Post, and in news stories by many other national and mainstream media outlets.
Jason Herndon, vice chairman of the Vidalia committee, credited Brannen with helping Vidalia onions become a “major marketed commodity” in the committee’s news release.
Brannen expanded the reach of Vidalia onions by introducing social media marketing to the sweet Georgia onions and their growers.
One recent program, executed in 2012 and dubbed “Vidalias & Country Music,” involved the Universal Music Group in Nashville.
During the promotion the Vidalia Onion Committee launched a new Facebook page that collected almost 36,000 fans in a four-month period. About 50,000 Facebook users downloaded Vidalia coupons during the promotion.
In 2011 Brannen conceived a national jingle contest that generated more than 136,000 visitors to the Vidalia Onion Committee’s website. The winning jingle is now used in radio advertising.