Jennie-O talks turkey with fed-up Boston consumers

WILLMAR, MN: Jennie-O Turkey Store is giving Boston consumers who are sick of rising transit costs a free lunch on Wednesday as part of its "Make the Switch" campaign.

WILLMAR, MN: Jennie-O Turkey Store is giving Boston consumers who are sick of rising transit costs a free lunch on Wednesday as part of its “Make the Switch” campaign.

The event is the first time the company has showcased its fresh-sliced deli turkey meat on its country-wide tour, said Jen Ehresmann, director of marketing for the brand. The effort's goal is to get consumers to choose turkey as a healthy and tasty lean meat option.

On July 1, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority announced the first increase in transit fares since 2007 to help the state agency close a budget gap. Boston consumers have been protesting the increase, including the decision to raise fares for people with disabilities.

Besides targeting consumers fed up with the fare increases, the company also wants to expand the range of products sold at food trucks, Ehresmann explained, adding that it has seen a rise in turkey burger sales in the two years since launching the initiative.  

“When we look at household penetration, we've brought in an incremental 1.3 million households in turkey burgers since the launch of the campaign,” explained Ehresmann.

The company has dispatched Jennie-O food trucks from Arizona to Southern California and from Buffalo, NY, to Florida, she added. Getting consumers to taste the brand's products “on a one-on-one sampling basis” is the best way to get them to “fall in love” with the company, Ehresmann said. 

Jennie-O's AOR for the last year Carmichael Lynch Spong has reached out to local print media, food bloggers, and radio stations in Boston to promote the event and drive attention to its websites, said Grete Lavrenz, principal at the firm. The agency also works with BBDO Minneapolis on social media for Jennie-O, said Ehresmann. 

Throughout the day, Jennie-O will use social media to raise awareness about the event by posting photos and videos of people trying the sandwiches, Ehresmann said. The brand also created excitement about the free samples by telling its 170,000-plus Facebook fans about the event earlier this week. Ehresmann said Twitter is acting as a “complimentary” social media site, but the focus is on Facebook and on SwitchToTurkey.com. 

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