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
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
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: Proflowers.com (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 Proflowers.com, an Internet
company that uses FedEx to ship flowers directly from California growers
With competitors FTD and 1-800-Flowers ingrained in the public’s mind,
however, Proflowers.com 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 Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com,
to capture a portion of the dollars 15 billion-a-year flower
Proflowers.com 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.
Proflowers.com 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,
Proflowers.com outfitted the crowd with T-shirts that were seen
prominently on TV.
Guerilla marketing efforts - such as giving away flower samples with
Proflowers.com Rolodex cards in New York’s financial district - also
earned the company notice.
The Barry White campaign ended with Proflowers.com’s highest non-holiday
sales figures yet, according to Cook. Now Proflowers.com believes it’s
the third-largest site on the Internet for flowers, behind 1-800-Flowers
’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 Proflowers.com the
number one floral site for price, product selection and customer
Proflowers.com 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 Proflowers.com hopes to show off its
21st-century business model.
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
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.