A 'simple' question: What would you do to promote?

07/27/2010 05:27:30 PM
Tom Karst

From India:

“We also did the same in India in late 80s. We did fruit and vegetable TV commercials with the then-election commissioner of India and a tough police commissioner who was the first woman to break the glass ceiling in India. The idea was to juxtapose these well-known figures against the company’s supermarket image to bring fruit and vegetable retailing to an elevated level.”

From the U.S.:

“I would choose spokespersons with health appeal, especially (as previously mentioned) sports personalities and sports leagues. I have often thought that Chiquita or Del Monte should sponsor a PGA tour event, or failing that, come up with a endorsement deal with a golfer on one of the tours ... golfers eat bananas on course and on camera for their nutritive value, natural sugar boost, and potassium replacement.”

From the U.S.:

“The approach has to be viral or grass-roots, not commercial to be truly successful with American adults. If you get a star on your side in the battle for the stomach and they are tweeting and using Facebook you’re going to win. But getting that to happen, and look genuine, is the key. It takes time and a real believer with credibility. Any ideas on who that is?”

From the U.S.

“We have seen that if you give samples of the products for consumers to taste at retail level, they are more willing to purchase the items even if the item is a little more pricey. People like a Paula Dean, Robert Irvine or Guy Fieri, who I have actually participated with at the Food and Wine Festival in New Jersey and Pennsylvania could be a spokesperson that has appeal.”

At the end of the day, this exercise in “if you want to dream a little” must come back around to the current efforts to promote fruit and vegetable consumption.

The industry doesn’t want to support a full-blown consumer promotion campaign with star power, or else it would exist. That should change.

I think the produce industry needs a powerful messenger, a winsome face, a reassuring voice that the consuming public will connect with. While no one is disputing the need for science-based food safety legislation, it may be folly to believe passage of a law alone will change consumer perceptions and ease doubts.

The Produce for Better Health Foundation would surely be capable of inking a deal with a celebrity. “Given ample resources,” LeBron James, Guy Fieri and Lea Michele are waiting in the wings for a casting call.


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