Publicis tapped to bolster US hazelnut consumption

NEPTUNE, NJ: Publicis Dialog wants to do for the humble hazelnut what it once did for soybeans: make them trendy for Americans to include in their diets.

NEPTUNE, NJ: Publicis Dialog wants to do for the humble hazelnut what it once did for soybeans: make them trendy for Americans to include in their diets.

The Hazelnut Council, a group of US and Turkish hazelnut growers and US hazelnut importers, has hired Publicis for what's expected to be a mid-six-figure-a-year account that will promote hazelnut consumption in the US.

Today, US consumers eat less than half a pound of hazelnuts per year, and many people associate them more with the coffee flavoring than with the nuts themselves.

The council received proposals from 25 to 30 agencies, and narrowed the field to six before selecting Publicis, said Bob Bauer, executive director. "Their past experience was very good,

said Bauer, mentioning the work Publicis did in the past to promote soybean consumption.

Andy Hopson, Publicis president and COO, said the agency will follow a strategy for hazelnuts similar to what it did while working for the United Soybean Board.

The first target of PR efforts will be food manufacturers. Publicis will emphasize the health and nutritional aspects of hazelnut consumption, hoping that will spur manufacturers to include hazelnuts in more processed food products.

Efforts will include consumer surveys to show that consumers like hazelnuts, as well as more research on the health and nutritional aspects of hazelnuts, Hopson said.

Publicis will handle the account out of its Seattle office. John Bissell, a senior principal and group management director of the agency's food commodities group, will lead a five-person account team.

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