NEW YORK: The Wheat Foods Council (WFC), a nonprofit supported by producers, millers, and other industry groups, plans to turn one quarter of an acre of downtown Manhattan into a wheat field for a three-day event. Held from October 6 to 8 at South Street Seaport, the “Urban Wheat Field Experience” is designed to raise consumer awareness about the industry.
Member partners, like General Mills and the National Association of Wheat Growers, will provide demonstrations and discuss their part in the grain's life cycle. They will emphasize a “farm to fork” message to consumers, who might not usually have a chance to see how the industry operates otherwise, said Marcia Scheideman, president of WFC.
With the help of AOR Burson-Marsteller, the WFC will rely on “Urban Wheat Field Experience” to create and promote the group's messages throughout the rest of the year. Each year, WFC creates one main effort that fuels its ongoing PR.
“The whole objective... is to attract a lot of media attention, because many people don't know where their food comes from and wouldn't be able to recognize a grain of wheat,” Scheideman said. “We don't have an advertising budget, and rely strongly on PR.”
In line with the educational component of the effort, other messages will focus on dispelling grain myths and addressing relevant issues, such as nutrition and prices, said Tracie Lesser, manager in the brand marketing practice at Burson.
The campaign will include a microsite and a YouTube page. Scheideman will also blog directly from the New York event, which will be posted in a special blogging section on the site.
“This event is not only about gaining visibility, but also about getting our messages out there and showing consumers the issues the industry is... facing,” Scheideman said.
WFC will measure consumer awareness of the event and throughout the year by the amount and quality of media coverage in broadcast, print, radio, and online outlets.