CAMPAIGNS: Egg box idea keeps health worry at bay - Consumer PR

Client: British Egg Industry Council
PR Team: Nexus Communications
Campaign: Seven Egg Box
Timescale: October 2002
Budget: £10,000

The relaunch of the British Lion mark has helped put some salmonella scares to rest and restore consumer confidence in British eggs. However, the industry still faces a battle regarding the relatively high cholesterol content of its product and the belief that egg consumption is linked to coronary heart disease.

This September, an NOP study for British Egg Week (7-13 October), revealed almost half of consumers believe health advice from the 1970s, that they should eat no more than three eggs per week.

To counter this notion, the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) asked Nexus Communications, which runs the British Egg Information Service, to implement a consumer campaign encouraging people to eat an egg a day.

Objectives

To generate widespread media coverage for the 'egg a day' message and stamp out the 'old wives tales' about eggs and cholesterol to the public.

Strategy and Plan

The campaign launched with an information drive to health journalists on the latest egg research from a series of US scientific trials and papers.

This outlined that the major contributor to raised blood cholesterol is not, as previously thought, dietary choleste-rol, but saturated fat - in which eggs are relatively low.

To bring the idea of an 'egg a day' to life, Nexus created a prototype egg box containing seven eggs, each named for a day of the week. On 4 October, these packs were biked to the newsdesks of the national, print and TV media, with a press release announcing the health benefits of eating an egg a day.

Measurement and Evaluation

The story generated widespread national and regional press interest, including half-page features in the Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Star and Daily Mirror. Television coverage included BBC Newsround, ITV's Today with Des and Mel and Five's Live with...Chris Moyles.

The campaign also scored well with national and regional radio stations, with BEIC spokespeople undertaking 24 radio interviews over two days, on services ranging from IRN to BBC Radios West Midlands, Derby and Merseyside.

On the day, the media coverage was overwhelmingly positive. In addition, the health pages of The Times and The Daily Telegraph ran strong follow-up stories, with top nutritionist Amanda Ursell saying: '...eggs are really one of nature's superfoods...

there are plenty of reasons to believe that an egg a day could keep the doctor away.'

Results

Egg sales for the week of the story were up by three per cent, with the following week up two per cent, year-on-year, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres. Most significantly, in an NOP survey taken after the campaign, there was an increase of almost one million people who believed that they could safely eat an egg a day.

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