THE BIG PITCH: What PR recipe would you follow to improve thepublic perception of veal?

SCOTT HILDULA - VP, media relations

Cohn & Wolfe, San Francisco

A primary campaign should focus on elevating veal's status, while a

subsidiary campaign would work to remove the stigmas associated with it.

In order to reposition the meat away from being "your father's breaded

cutlet of choice," it would be necessary to launch a key-influencers

campaign. Leading chefs should be enticed to submit new veal recipes for

a culinary feature in The New York Times Magazine, and free cases of

veal should be sent to dining hot spots in major cities. The parallel,

and somewhat quieter effort, should revolve around promoting "organic,

farm-raised veal." The central message would be about how today's veal

calves (without mentioning "calves") are raised in humane and

cruelty-free environments. The words "humane" and "cruelty" would never

be used because they risk reminding people of what put them off

initially. While it's unlikely that most veal producers would bother to

earn the "organic, farm-raised veal" designation, this would provide the

procurement option for chefs with qualms about traditional farming

methods, and an "out" for other chefs coming under question by


SHIRLEY BARR - President

Shirleybarr Public Relations, Houston

I'd recommend "Veal - the Elegant Meal," a strategic positioning that

will put veal at the top of the meat chain for elegant dining. This fits

in with today's trends - a continued emphasis on entertaining at home,

plus white-tablecloth dining at home and in restaurants for special


For the tactical approach, I would collect favorite veal dishes from

famous chefs and cookbook authors around the country to use for both

editorial and ad copy. I would complement this with food-kitchen

photography of at least four veal recipes available in all print and

electronic media formats. I'd recruit a chef or cookbook author as a

spokesperson to conduct cooking demos on all the national and major

market food shows. In addition to the recipe demo, the spokesperson

would stress presentation of the veal and other tips for setting an

elegant table to support the theme.

Supermarkets would be enlisted to use POP materials and recipes for

"Veal the Elegant Meal." If budget permits, a celebrity spokesperson -

positioned as an entertaining diva - should be tapped for a series of


JEFF NEWELT - Promoter and PR consultant

New York

When I was 10, my brother and I used to order our hero sandwiches from

Frankie at Little Joe's Pizzeria. Always crowded, there'd be folks left

and right yelling for a meatball hero or a chicken parm hero. But when

I'd step up and order a veal parmigiana hero, Frankie would nod, like an

approving sommelier, and acknowledge my taste for life's delicacies.

So I'd use canny promotions and product placement to make veal the Miles

Davis of meats in the minds of the masses; a campaign tying veal to both

the elegant and edgy/sexy sides of the sublime. For product placement,

I'd engineer a film scenario or commercial with someone like Benicio del

Toro in a Little Italy-like joint, savoring his veal and enjoying the

night, with Miles in the background, the veal pounded thin, tender, and

tasty. He doesn't love the good things, he loves the delicious things.

Veal USA should also sponsor a contest for the perfect veal parmigiana

hero, to be held in a prominent, well-known Italian restaurant in

Manhattan, and judged by prominent critics and an appropriate celebrity,

like a star from The Sopranos or Joe Pesci.

BEN WHEATLEY - Senior vice president

Pierpont Communications, Houston

Veal already seems somewhat "glamorous." Most people only think of it

when they're dining in a fancy place. I mean, veal is not "what's for

dinner" in most US households. For one thing, it's a bit pricey. And, of

course, people are a bit uncomfortable about the way veal is raised.

Since calves bred as veal are locked in pens and fed only milk, this

probably nixes a "Got Milk?" parody. Maybe taking a cue from the pork

industry, a campaign could be called "The Other Red Meat." But, the real

problem is that people don't know how to prepare it. What can you make

with it besides veal piccata or veal parmesan? Substituting it for

regular beef doesn't quite work. Have you tried making veal loaf or

spaghetti and veal balls? What's needed is to trot out a gourmet chef

around upscale food stores and demonstrate elegant ways of spoiling

yourself with veal. Cooking demonstrations, tastings, and elegant, yet

simple recipes would do for veal what Julia Child did for French cuisine

- demystify it and begin making it a desirable staple in the home chef's


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in