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Many new elements in grape commission’s 2013 promotional campaign

The promotional campaign that the Fresno, CA-based California Table Grape Commission has built for the 2013 season — not only for the United States but for Canada and for countries around the world — is “an aggressive one,” according to Kathleen Nave, president of the organization. “It focuses on the many ways in which California table grapes can be incorporated easily and conveniently into a healthy lifestyle. We will be communicating those messages to retailers, foodservice operators and certainly to consumers around the world.”

CTGC-Jeff-CardinaleJeff CardinaleThere are many new elements in this year’s campaign, she said. Some of those will be implemented in the early part of the season, with “more to come in the fall.”

With the majority of the California grape crop coming off in the fall, and with shipments expected to continue into February again as was the case last year, “we will be heavily promoting California table grapes of course through the summer, but [also] heavily promoting them through the fall and into December. And only for the second time ever, we will be offering media in January” because of the larger crop.

In March, the commission announced in a press release the hiring of Jeff Cardinale as vice president of communications “to handle consumer education, health outreach and media communications for the grower-based organization.” Cardinale’s “extensive background in media and public relations” includes 15 years in television news in California markets from Fresno to San Francisco.

As a news producer and executive producer, Cardinale is a five-time Emmy Award winner.

Cardinale furnished to The Produce News several written statements summarizing the commission’s planned promotional activities for 2013, covering the consumer education program, retail and foodservice opportunities, and consumer and grape category research activities.

“We are partnering with five registered dieticians” to help communicate to consumers the theme of the 2013 campaign, which is that “California grapes are the one ingredient that can change everything,” according to the statement. Each of the dieticians “will have an advertorial in Food Network magazine that will coincide with the magazine’s theme for the month,” and each will “develop three unique recipes and create videos for distribution on the commission’s social media sites” as well as on the dieticians’ own pages.

The participating registered dieticians are Patricia Bannan in Los Angeles, Dawn Jackson Blatner in Chicago, Tara Gidus in Orlando, FL, Heather K. Jones in San Francisco and Sara-Jane Bedwell in Nashville, TN.

In addition, Ellie Krieger, a nutritionist, chef and Food Network star who has been a spokeswoman for California grapes for several years, “will launch the season with a Facebook contest called One Ingredient Can Change Everything,” the statement continued. “Entrants will send in their favorite recipe” featuring grapes from California, and Krieger will choose a $1,000 grand-prize winner.

She will also host a media tour “with 18 to 20 television anchors, radio shows and bloggers across the country demonstrating new and exciting ways to incorporate grapes from California throughout the day.”

The first day of summer will also mark the first day of TV time this season for California grapes, the statement said. On that day, the commission will have a national TV segment featuring California grapes on “The Daily Buzz” as part of its “Better for you foods” series.

Also on June 21, California grapes will be featured across the country on Win/Win Radio.

As the commission continues its partnership with The Food Network, retailers will “have the opportunity to have their logo placed on ads in exchange for promotional activity,” the statement said. “The partnership allows the ads to be tagged geographically in the retailer’s state or markets. The Food Network is available to U.S. retailers, and tagging opportunities are available in Canada with Chatelaine magazine.”

Traffic radio will be available as well “to retailers who upgrade their California grape ads to front page or multiple varieties,” the statement said. “For those retailers that do not advertise, traffic radio will be available when they feature grapes in store grand openings.”

The retail program includes a volume-based promotion award as well as consumer and category research, media incentives and point-of-sales material, according to the statement.

For foodservice operators, “we contact and meet with menu developers for various restaurant chains throughout the season to encourage use of grapes on their menus,” the statement said. “We assist [by] providing them with menu and recipe guides, providing recipe concepts and presenting to their staff ways to incorporate grapes in their menu.”