Food and drink: Jubilee strawberries effort bears fruit

Driscoll Jubilee Strawberries appointed Cirkle to bring the British variety to the attention of the British media and public.

Flavours: Cirkle produced a series of recipes including strawberry risotto
Flavours: Cirkle produced a series of recipes including strawberry risotto

Campaign: Queen of Strawberries
Client: Jubilee Strawberries
PR team: Cirkle
Timescale: March-September 2011
Budget: £100,000

OBJECTIVES

  • To raise consumer awareness of Jubilee strawberries
  • To educate consumers that not all strawberry varieties are equal and motivate them to purchase Jubilee over cheaper, less flavoursome alternatives
  •  To drive purchase by highlighting ways to use Jubilee strawberries

STRATEGY AND PLAN

The PR team's core strategy was to create an exciting, educational campaign that built on Jubilee strawberries' credentials while underlining the appeal of British fresh produce. The aim was to engage consumers with appealing and relevant content that would drive them to actively seek out Jubilee strawberries.

To kick off the campaign, Cirkle organised a Strawberry Fields Forever press trip to Hugh Lowe farms, targeting influential food titles. This was designed to introduce contacts to the brand and showcase the fruit's heritage. The trip had the added benefit of giving long-lead titles the chance to generate editorial that would coincide with the strawberry season.

Simultaneously, the team worked behind the scenes to send out photography of the strawberry farm and picking process, a Savour the Flavour strawberry guide and promote a brand new website.

The main thrust of the campaign involved reinforcing the fruit's 'Best of British' credentials. The team commissioned national research to identify relevant news hooks to pitch to national media. The research found that while 89 per cent of the nation claimed to support British fresh produce, only 26 per cent were actively seeking it out on the shelves.

Almost half were not even aware that strawberry varieties existed. This activity was timed to coincide with the start of the British strawberry season, which was announced via radio interviews by chef and MasterChef presenter John Torode.

Torode also appeared on the website and in the Savour the Flavour guide.

The PR team then produced a series of recipes to showcase Jubilee strawberries, including strawberry & fig skewers with honey & lavender cream and artichoke, watercress & strawberry risotto with lemon thyme.

These were targeted at consumer lifestyle titles and online media. Jubilee strawberries also became the 'official strawberry' at Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival.

MEASUREMENT AND EVALUATION

The campaign generated 412 pieces of editorial coverage including branded TV coverage on BBC South East, Daybreak and The One Show. The Jubilee variety was highlighted in 90 per cent of key food titles, including several 'Best of British' features. Seven interviews with Torode reached 306 different outlets including radio station Heart 106.2 and Sky News.

RESULTS

The PR activity, coupled with the warm weather in April and May, led to an early summer sales uplift of 58 per cent.

SECOND OPINION - VICTORIA SAVILL, CONSUMER DIRECTOR, SIREN COMMUNICATIONS

I worked on PR for the Banana Group consortium so am always interested to read about awareness-raising campaigns for any humble fruit, and Cirkle seems to have achieved a good level of awareness for its Queen of Strawberries campaign.

I strongly believe any effective and successful comms campaign must be 'joined up', and Cirkle seems to have worked with social networking and traditional media to achieve some standout coverage both on and offline.

One thing I'd be interested to understand is how they worked with food bloggers - an incredibly influential bunch and a brilliant way to seed messages to key target audiences. And was video used throughout the campaign?

With such a seasonal focus for any activity of this kind, detailed planning is key to ensure you get staggered and consistent coverage before, during and after the harvest. Cirkle effectively secured branded coverage in influential long-leads, which was then supported by heavyweight news output and a spokesperson in the form of John Torode.

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