CAMPAIGNS: Consumer Marketing

Showing many uses for honey

Showing many uses for honey

Showing many uses for honey

Client: National Honey Board (Longmont, CO)

PR Team: Nuffer Smith Tucker (San Diego) and Zuckerman Fernandes &

Partners (San Francisco)

Campaign: National Honey Board Consumer Public Relations Program

Time Frame: Early 1998 and ongoing

Budget: dollars 500,000

The National Honey Board in 1998 decided that it was in a bit of a

sticky situation - it needed to not only increase honey sales but also

to sweeten interest among younger consumers.

’Research showed we were dealing with a mature market and a perception

of honey as a commodity, rather than as a value-added ingredient, which

is where we knew it should be positioned to move it forward,’ says

National Honey Board CEO Bob Smith.

To identify a jumping-off point for a campaign effort, the board got

hold of data suggesting that honey possesses some protective and healing

properties. A team of scientific experts was retained to identify the

most viable areas upon which new consumer messages could be built.

These turned out to include the use of honey as an anti-microbial

(bacteria-inhibiting) agent; allergy fighter; moisturizer and source of

antioxidant/vitamin/mineral/amino acids. Also deemed a good premise was

honey’s status as an acceptable carbohydrate in a healthful diabetic



Nuffer Smith Tucker was charged with devising a consumer PR strategy

aimed at broadening Americans’ view of honey and pushing domestic honey

consumption to 400 million pounds by 2002.

Through its research, three honey trends were identified as follows:

The do-it-yourself movement in which consumers are assuming more

responsibility for staying well and seeking out alternatives to

traditional wellness-promoting vehicles.

A renewed interest in alternative remedies.

The ’Good for You Food’ movement, initiated by consumers who desire

natural foods, often to protect themselves against disease.


Based on Nutter’s recommendations, the PR agency Zuckerman Fernandes &

Partners prepared a variety of press releases explaining the health

properties of honey. Researchers were quoted as saying that, unlike

other sweeteners, honey contains antioxidants that protect against cell

damage, cancer and heart disease. The releases also referred to its high

vitamin count.

Honey’s unique high-acid, high-sugar, low-protein composition was billed

as an anti-bacterial treatment for minor scrapes, burns and


Four camera-ready ’mat’ releases bearing the same type of health

messages and recipes incorporating honey as a ’value-add’ were

distributed to 10,000 newspapers nationwide. Readers were also informed

of the availability of free recipe booklets and informative


The agency produced several full-color ROP pages for use in newspaper

food sections; one such page, dubbed ’Jump Start Your Day,’ had healthy

breakfast ideas.

A public service announcement, created in cooperation with the Women’s

Sports Foundation, ran in early June, suggesting honey as a source for

maintaining well-being and giving energy for workouts.

Finally, the board served as a sponsor of the fall/winter edition of

Health for Women, a Woman’s Day magazine special publication. There were

two recipes with color photographs, plus a sidebar on honey and health

and listings in the ’Sponsor’s Directory’ and ’Information Please’



’Although it’s early in the game, response to the consumer campaign has

been positive and I think we will reach our goal,’ Smith asserts.

The ’Jump Start Your Day’ ROP page exceeded its circulation goal,

garnering 20.5 million impressions, and there were 990 print stories


As of mid-summer 1999, the PSA had been telecast 1,139 times on 35

stations, reaching an estimated audience of 24.4 million consumers.

Magazine coverage to date has included articles in Family Circle, First

for Women, Science News, Herbs for Health and Prevention.


PSAs in 30- and 60-second spots on the uses and properties of honey will

be produced and distributed to 200 select stations. Radio spots of the

same length will be disseminated to 1,000 stations.

The board is continuing to fund research on honey, with a view to

targeting a campaign at the medical community.

Julie Ritzer Ross


Fresh approach to online flowers Client: (La Jolla,


PR Team: Gable Group (San Diego)

Campaign: Online flower sales

Time Frame: December 1998 to present

Budget: dollars 100,000-plus

In 1997 Jared Shultz spotted an opportunity to cut out the middleman and

sell flowers directly to the public, making the flowers fresher and


In November of that year, he established, an Internet

company that uses FedEx to ship flowers directly from California growers

to consumers.

With competitors FTD and 1-800-Flowers ingrained in the public’s mind,

however, had to carve out an identity.

The company created a test-market web site around Valentine’s Day 1998,

selling 500 bouquets.

But just because you build a site, that doesn’t mean that consumers will

notice. Schultz, whose family owns Blue Mountain Arts, which also has

online greeting cards, partnered with and,

to capture a portion of the dollars 15 billion-a-year flower


Strategy needed to show that ’the delivery model and pricing and

freshness of their product is in stark contrast to what else is out

there in the online and offline floral industry,’ says Rick Cook, Gable

Group account supervisor.

The company sought to publicize that retailers often sell old


’The flowers you receive from a retail florist are anywhere from five to

nine days old,’ says Barbara Bry, VP of business development, while

Proflowers promises ’a fresher flower at a better price.’ It also sought

to generate business at times other than holidays.

Tactics employed a multi-pronged attack, starting with cause


For Mother’s Day, the company worked with the National Osteoporosis

Foundation, creating a bouquet called ’Mom’s Treat’ and donating 5%of

the proceeds to the charity.

It approached magazines such as Women’s Day, supplying free flowers in

exchange for a mention.

The company also teamed up with soul balladeer Barry White for August

Romance Awareness Month. White provided ’10 Tips for Romance.’ On the

morning that White performed a sidewalk concert on NBC’s Today show, outfitted the crowd with T-shirts that were seen

prominently on TV.

Guerilla marketing efforts - such as giving away flower samples with Rolodex cards in New York’s financial district - also

earned the company notice.


The Barry White campaign ended with’s highest non-holiday

sales figures yet, according to Cook. Now believes it’s

the third-largest site on the Internet for flowers, behind 1-800-Flowers

and FTD.

’Almost every major flower industry story we’ve seen in the last few

months has mentioned us and clearly differentiated us from the

competition,’ Bry says. The BizRate Guide rated the

number one floral site for price, product selection and customer


Future intends to focus on the military market, where almost

everyone has access to a computer. Cook says the next campaign will

target business press, and hopes to show off its

21st-century business model.

Marc Allan


Pilots union wins members a raise

Client: Independent Pilots Union

PR Team: Manning, Selvage & Lee (Washington, DC)

Campaign: IPA contract negotiations with UPS

Time Frame: May 1997 to March 1998

Budget: dollars 350,000

Could a small, independent union force the powerful and admired shipping

company United Parcel Service (UPS) to take its demands for a

significant pay increase seriously?

UPS’s pilots were paid 25% below what Federal Express pilots earned, and

overnight delivery was the fastest-growing component of UPS’


The Independent Pilots Association (IPA) union was seeking better


Negotiations between IPA and UPS had been ongoing since December


Then in the spring of 1997, UPS requested an end to federal


IPA worried that, after a federally mandated cooling-off period, the

company might stage a lockout. In response, IPA obtained permission from

its members to call a strike if necessary.

IPA’s concern was that history would repeat itself - in February 1997,

when American Airlines and its pilot union had exhausted all mediation

options, the union struck. President Clinton thwarted the pilots,

however, by creating a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) to arbitrate a

new contract, preventing the union from advancing its viewpoint. If this

occurred again, IPA’s members could ge easily shorted.

At this point, IPA’s leadership knew it needed PR help.


Manning, Selvage & Lee (MS&L) moved quickly to upgrade IPA’s

communications ability since the union had, surprisingly, never ’held a

press conference, never communicated with the White House and never gone

on strike,’ according to Brian Gaudet, director of creative and

strategic development for MS&L.

UPS needed to recognize that dismissing the pilot’s concerns could be

costly to its business.


Gaudet says that IPA members with military backgrounds and those who had

flown for failed airlines were trained to serve as ’spokespilots.’ These

PR representatives were given pagers with e-mail capability, and they

received message-of-the-day bulletins.

A media ’war room’ was set up and IPA officials conducted a series of

editorial board meetings and talk shows to present their case. As the

campaign progressed, the key message points included positioning the IPA

as the ’voice of reason’ that preferred ’settling the contract at the

negotiating table’ and portraying UPS as ’anti-labor hawks,’ Gaudet

says. IPA’s web site was used to update members about the latest

developments, and the chatroom provided members with answers to their


MS&L also enlisted a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm, Cartwright &

Riley, to persuade the administration against creating a PEB.

Soon after IPA-UPS negotiations had come to a halt, the trucking union

went on strike against the company, which proved to be a crucial turning

point for IPA. No pilots crossed the picket line. Spokespilots put their

training to use in cities with major UPS terminals. And MS&L helped see

to it that an important message was delivered to UPS.

IPA leaders held a news conference in the midst of the Teamsters strike

to remind the media and shippers that even if that strike were resolved,

failure to meet IPA’s demands could lead to another. As IPA president

Bob Miller warned: ’Even when the Teamsters strike is over, it ain’t


Gaudet stresses that the news conference, which CNN carried live, ’made

us part of the story.’ News coverage of UPS’s relationship with IPA

increased after that. Important to backing up IPA’s message were the

survey results from Roper Starch of Washington, DC that demonstrated an

increasing desire by shippers to ’switch to another carrier’ if an IPA

strike occurred.

MS&L informed the news media of the results.


UPS’s request for a release from federal mediation had not been


IPA members voted down the ’final’ offer and an ’indefinite’ recess was


That fall, contracts for pilots of several passenger and cargo airlines

set higher levels of pay. When FedEx announced its own compensation

plan, UPS’s Miller offered to use it as a model.

When contract talks resumed in early 1998, MS&L placed ’curtain raiser’

stories in key publications read by shippers. Negotiations yielded a 29%

pay raise retroactive to December 1995, which exceeded IPA’s objective

of a 21% pay raise retroactive to January 1996.

UPS spokesman Tad Segal argues it was the ability of the IPA and his

company to arrive at a consensus that made the ultimate difference. ’It

wasn’t PR that created a deal,’ he says. Perhaps, but IPA’s Miller has

credited MS&L for delivering the ’strategic vision’ and the capability

of ’rapid response’ to his union, which was ’clearly not ready for an

all-out media battle with UPS.’

MS&L won a 1999 Silver Anvil award for the campaign.

Steve Lilienthal.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in