Beef council fires up push to increase summer sales

DENVER: The National Cattlemen's Beef Association plans to spend $2.8 million this year on its Summer Grilling Promotion, an integrated effort to prompt Americans to buy more beef for the summer cookout season.

DENVER: The National Cattlemen's Beef Association plans to spend $2.8 million this year on its Summer Grilling Promotion, an integrated effort to prompt Americans to buy more beef for the summer cookout season.

This year's effort is being expanded to 20 cities from the seven that were targeted last year.

For the PR portion of the campaign, the association is working with agencies Burson-Marsteller and McDowell & Piasecki, a Chicago firm that specializes in food.

PR elements of the campaign include a Memorial Day national media relations campaign tied to the kick-off announcement, in-store recipe cards and brochures, radio promotional events, b-roll, and a new PSA on safe handling of ground beef, said Sara Goodwin, associate director of PR at the association.

The campaign targets consumers and retailers. "We want to get retailers to feature more beef," Goodwin explained.

The association will offer PR support to its state organizations, providing guidance on how to garner local coverage for the promotion, Goodwin said.

A new consumer website, www.beefItsWhatsForDinner.com, will have a grilling focus for the summer as well.

Last summer's campaign produced a 2% increase in dollar sales of all fresh beef, and a 7% dollar increase in sales of what the association terms grilling cuts. Grilling cuts include such items as steaks and hamburgers that are traditionally cooked on outdoor barbeques during the summer months.

The association last year worked with 6,000 individual retail outlets, distributing 109,000 cart signs, 800 window posters, and 3,700 floor graphics.

Thirty-five state councils ran their own promotions tied into the national effort.

Radio ads will also be a part of this year's campaign, as will tie-ins with such brands as A-1 Steak Sauce and Kingsford charcoal.

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