Star power dim for produce promotions - The Packer

Star power dim for produce promotions

05/12/2014 10:14:00 AM
Tom Karst

Tom Karst Outside of a few Olympic athletes, top foodie bloggers and celebrity chefs, the produce industry hasn’t tried very hard to recruit flesh and blood celebrity endorsements. (We’ll set aside talk of Elmo and other cartoon and Disney characters for the time being.)

 We must give a nod to Paramount Farms, however, which nabbed Stephen Colbert for an Super Bowl spot this year.

Why the dearth of big name celebrity endorsements for fresh produce commodities? The lack of an industry generic promotion board and the tens of millions such a board could generate is undoubtedly one of the major reasons that the collective industry has not sought out a single superstar spokesperson.

With many athletes knocked for their promotion of “bad foods,”  ,is the industry missing a public relations coup by not seeking out A-list athletes and Hollywood stars to promote good for you fruits and vegetables?

 I recently asked a question of the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group about this topic.

 Would celebrity endorsements work for fresh produce commodities and brands?

The topic  has received 14 comments so far,

One retailer said this about the notion of “celebrity” versus “grower” credibility.

If a celebrity endorsed an onion, an orange or some form of chicory, would cast no value or integrity on the product I am purchasing. How ever an endorsement from a co-op owner or farmer would carry far more authenticity of the origin and quality of the product. Putting a face to the farm or company. Luke Brown(owner/farmer) is a great example to use, by putting his picture and e-mail address on every label. During melon season I have countless people request for as they like to call them “the luke brown” melons.

Another reader chimed in with a link to a Forbes story, called “Can small businesses really afford celebrity endorsements?” 

In this context, it is worth noting that after a 20-year run, the star-studded ad “Got Milk” campaign has been retired by the Milk Processor Education Program, the national marketing arm for the dairy industry. A new campaign, sans celebrities, "‘Milk Life’  replaced it.

 Check out vintage "Got Milk?" ads here.

 With the dairy folks no longer putting milk moustaches on super models and athletes, how great would it be if the fresh produce industry could fill the void and recruit George Clooney or Jennifer Lawrence to promote all fruits and vegetables? It won’t happen, but what if it could?



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