Dubbed “Fresh from Florida” and largely funded from the state's financial settlement with energy giant BP after its 2010 Gulf oil spill, the innovative TV-based campaign began in late May, with 15- and 30-second commercials airing in all 10 of the state's media markets.
Susan Nardizzi, FDA's division director of marketing and development, spearheaded development of the program.
“The department had never done any statewide media advertising,” said Nardizzi, a veteran national advertising executive recruited by the Florida Agriculture Commissioner early last year to head FDA's marketing and promotional efforts. “They had done things like magazine advertising or a little bit of outdoor advertising or sponsorship deals with colleges and universities. But it had never been looked at as a major marketing campaign.”
Given Commissioner Adam Putnam's goal of more aggressive promotion of fresh local food products, Nardizzi and her team designed a so-called “push-pull campaign” intended to expand retail distribution by also driving increased consumer demand.
Developed under the auspices of a 1990 statute that created an original Florida agricultural promotional campaign (FAPC) and the “Fresh from Florida” branding initiative, FDA already had in place incentive programs with major supermarket retailers.
The new campaign added direct consumer advertising.
The effort began late last year with a series of consumer focus groups aimed at women 35-54, in households with at least $70,000 in annual income.
“During the focus groups, we discovered that people wanted healthy recipes that were quick and easy to prepare,” said Donna Watson, FDA's supervisor of media. “But we also found that they were tired of making the same recipes over and over again and that they wanted something they felt was unique. So that became the foundation of the campaign.”
“And because we were promoting fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables and fun recipes for preparing them, we decided to take a visual route and focus primarily on TV advertising,” Watson said.
Nardizzi explained that the campaign was intended to be educational as well as product-and-sales oriented. “The goal,” she said, “was to drive 'Fresh from Florida' as a brand and also really educate people about the amount of fresh produce and seafood available to them in their local supermarket from Florida producers.”
The effort was also developed with strong support from Florida farmers, fishermen and seafood harvesters, including organizations such as Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Nardizzi said. “Over the years,” Nardizzi said, “all of those groups have been saying 'We need more visibility in the marketplace. We need more brand identity. We need money to put behind advertising.' So this was an opportunity to deliver that on behalf of the state's producers.”
After a statewide creative search and competitive bidding process, FDA hired Ft. Lauderdale-based Kreative Kontent to product the four TV spots. Media planning and buying was handled by Chernoff-Newman in Maitland.
The initial TV advertising schedule launched in March will run through June 3. A subsequent flight is planned for late this year. FDA is now working with the state's major grocery retailers to coordinate the best timing, based on seasonally-driven products and recipes.
Meanwhile, the current TV campaign will be translated into spots aimed at the Hispanic market and launching in the Miami market this month (May).
Next up is a digital effort geo-targeted to Floridians on major food web sites including FoodNetwork.com, MyRecipes.com and BlogHer.com.
A related magazine advertising campaign that reaches outside the state began last November, including in the national publication Garden & Gun. Other magazines on the media schedule include Coastal Living and food publications such as Every Day with Rachel Ray.
Based on the success of the initial effort, Nardizzi said, the campaign could be expanded in the future to include the state's horticulture products, which represent the state's #1 non-food export.
“We have been talking to representatives of that industry about a promotional partnership,” Nardizzi said. “And we have also been looking at other food commodities, such as chicken. Based on the results we've gotten from this first campaign, we see this as an ongoing effort.”
For more information and recipes, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.