Agency: Langston Communications
Campaign: Ogres & Onions Shrek and Vidalias
Client: Vidalia Onion Committee
Nonprofit Vidalia, which grows and sells sweet onions, had a key target audience that was aging (between 48 and 57 with no kids at home). The producer/grower needed to bring younger customers into its fold. Adding to the challenge, inclement weather resulted in a medium-sized harvest that was delayed two weeks and production volume was down 22%. Seventy percent of Vidalia’s crop was usually large-sized onions which were sold loose. Last year’s crop was mostly medium-sized and would be sold in bags, so a big push needed to be made for the bag category.
They came up with the “Shrek Forever After, Vidalias Forever Sweet” campaign. The fourth and final sequel to the Shrek series was due out in theaters May 2010, correlating well with Vidalia’s harvest season. Shrek himself had already made the connection when, in one movie, he said, “ogres are like onions,” and then ate an onion on screen.
The Ogres & Onions campaign included on-pack marketing, point-of-sale, an online consumer contest, in-store and consumer radio, national print, paid advertising, in-school messaging and more. Trade industry components included a ‘Sweet News’ retail newsletter, a retail display contest, trade ads, releases and sales toolkits.
POS materials consisted of Shrek bags/bins with kids’ recipes and contest details. Campaign messages included price/shelf cards, tear-off recipe/content pads, box toppers and a 5-foot Shrek floor stand. The “Hunt ‘n Peel” online game, similar to an Easter egg hunt, revealed kid-focused Vidalia trivia for prizes.
A first-ever dedicated kids section was launched on VidaliaOnion.org. Social media dispersed campaign messages to parents, children and bloggers. In schools, 30 million milk cartons were printed with Vidalia messaging about the online contest, while kids’ brochures, classroom education posters and print ads were distributed in schools.
Fourteen of the 15 top producers and almost all top 10 national retailers participated. The campaign generated 6.8 million TV impressions and 4 million-plus print impressions. Radio reached 87 million people in 47 states. There were 45,000 entries to the online contest, with nearly 78,000 visitors who viewed an average of 3.71 pages.
The USDA National Agriculture Statistic Service reported Vidalia sales were up 50% in June 2010 vs. 2009 despite the delays and lower crops. Bag sales jumped 30%.