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Buderim Ginger National Media Awareness Campaign

Client: 

Buderim Ginger Limited

PR Company: 

Bayly Willey Holt Pty Ltd

Award Category: 

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2001 G 3

Year: 

2001

Executive Summary: 

Buderim Ginger is the world's largest producer of processed ginger with exports into 17 countries.  Based on <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Queensland's SunshineCoast, the company listed on the ASX in 1989.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

The year 2000 was particularly difficult for Buderim. Its share price plummeted due to the loss of major international customers to competitors, and the cost of plant upgrades. 

Buderim was forced to undertake cost rationalisation which primarily impacted on its secondary business its retail range.

Conversely, the retail range was experiencing steady sales growth and presented an opportunity for the company to counter some of its industrial losses.

With Buderims retail advertising budget slashed for six months from June 2000, Bayly Willey Holts (BWH) challenge was to maintain exposure of Buderim Ginger's retail lines to ensure sales continued to increase despite the withdrawal of advertising.

BWH proposed a major media familiarisation to Buderims processing facility for national food editors, with the aim of generating regular editorial coverage over a six month period.

Results were significant.  Eighteen national food writers attended the event with resulting, extensive national publicity exceeding over an eight month period accredited by Buderim as a major force in driving retail sales up 17% over the period.

Situation Analysis: 

Overview<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Buderim Ginger Limited (BGL) has strong brand awareness among <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Queensland consumers. For almost 60 years it has enjoyed market dominance in world industrial food sectors, however new competitors are encroaching upon its core industrial business.

In 1996, Buderim Ginger entered Australia's retail sector, securing space in supermarkets by initially providing a small product range jams and crystallised ginger.

Since then, Buderim has developed 20 retail lines.  Sales revenue from retail products has grown almost 50% during that time to now represent 25% of company turnover.

Problem

In early 2000, Buderim was forced to undergo a series of cost cuts due to aggressive pricing from new competitors overseas, that were impacting on gross margins and shareholder dividends.

Given Buderims retail range is not considered a core business of the company, research and development into new retail lines and advertising of existing supermarket range were slashed.  

Potentially, this held serious ramifications for Buderims retail range.

Of utmost concern was the impact that reduced product promotional support would have on supermarket buyers.  Maintaining shelf presence is a battle for all niche food producers. They do not have the advertising 'clout' of multi-nationals.  Many small producers are faced with product deletion if they cannot demonstrate to buyers solid promotional campaigns to support their right for supermarket shelf space.

Opportunity

The steady growth of BGL's retail lines while promising, is not a core concern for the group, but the increasing pressure faced by the company in the industrial market, presented an opportunity to build on sales from the Australian retail sector and contribute to the company's bottom-line. 

To offset the six month advertising cut, BWH recommended to BGL that a major media familiarisation to the facility would assist in generating positive media coverage over an extended period of time within national womens and food magazines.  With the assistance of other SunshineCoast businesses, the exercise could be conducted within a constrained promotional budget of $40,000.

The exercise was also pivotal to establishing strong, on-going relationships between Buderim and Australia's leading food publications many of which were then unaware of the companys significance as a world ginger processor, of Buderims extensive retail range and more-so, of gingers wide ranging usage, health and flavour benefits

Research: 

  • Discussions with Buderim senior management to determine the key issues and performance indicators for a media familiarisation. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

  • Research national magazines to evaluate each publication's specific consumer audience and relevance to BGLs consumer target publics.

  • Canvassing national food writers to determine: (a) interest in attending such an event;

  • (b) the maximum length of stay they would commit to; and (c) investigation of major food related event dates, so we didnt clash with any other important media calendar dates.     

  • Research potential high profile Sunshine Coast-based chefs to invite to breakfast.

  • Researching processing stages of Buderim manufacturing facility to develop a tour itinerary.
  • Extensive research into the world ginger industry health; nutrition; growing; production; retailing; ancient traditions (desk and internet research).

Target Policies: 

Primary <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

  • Consumers of ginger (all age groups and consumer demographics)
  • National mainstream womens (25+) magazines
  • National gourmet food media
  • Health publications
  • Mens publications
  • Trade publications
  • National television programs
  • Interstate metropolitan newspaper media
  • Sunshine Coast-based media
  • <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Sunshine Coast cooking personalities (chefs)

  • National supermarket buyers

Secondary

  • Buderim Ginger shareholders

Buderim Ginger growers

Communication Strategy: 

Due to lengthy magazine editorial lead times, it was crucial that if Buderims objectives of securing editorial coverage for the second half of 2000 were to be achieved, it was imperative that BWH successfully stage a media familiarisation no later than May 2000.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

It was equally important that our initial approach to media generated immediate impact and interest. A half-hearted media response would mean our window of opportunity for wide-spread coverage would be lost for the second half of 2000.

While the media famil was conducted in late May 2000, the underlying objective was to ensure a constant flow publicity in national magazines for at least six to eight months following the famil to offset the lack of advertising spend Buderim would normally commit over a similar period.

Before approaching a potential accommodation partner, BWH canvassed the target media to determine interest.  Responses were strongly in favour of an event, particularly given that many journalists were not aware of Buderims position as the largest processor in the world.  When tying this angle into a gastronomic weekend on the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />SunshineCoast to look, learn, listen, taste and see media response was overwhelmingly in favour of a famil.

This media interest formed the basis of our approach to the Sheraton Noosa Resort to become the official accommodation provider.

Understanding the value of hosting a large number of national journalists at its property, the Sheraton Noosa embraced the opportunity, provided it could profile its guest facilities, Executive Chef and co-host a gala evening.

With the Sheratons support in place, BWH then developed a specific media invitation designed to encourage visitation.  Using the Sheraton Noosas postcards as teasers, media were sent short messages to diarise the date for a gastronomic weekend.  Once BWH had secured positive involvement from other SunshineCoast businesses, formalised invitations were issued. 

BWH in conjunction with Buderims cookery consultant, Barbara Harman, secured support from other SunshineCoast operators to provide subsidised activities for media visitation to their properties.

Participants included

Hastings Street

restaurant, Bistro C; thirteen of Noosas leading chefs; local tourist ferry operator, Noosa Riverlight Ferry; ginger grower, jewellery and furniture designers Anthony and Ann Everingham and widely respected natural medicine lecturer, Michel Blondel of the AustralianCollege of Natural Medicine.The famil has opened up good lines of communication between BGL and key food media, as well as generating interest from national supermarket buyers sighting the publicity results. Many media attending the famil, maintain regular contact with Buderim for new product updates and information.

Implementation: 

Given the scope of this project and the extensive range of activities carried out by BWHs account management team, we have listed the final media itinerary within Appendix 5. Following is a summary of activities carried out to ensure methods were appropriate to achieve (1) a successful media familiarisation to Buderim Ginger and (2) a steady flow of publicity in national publications over a six month period.   <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Media Famil development 

  • Regular meetings with Buderim Ginger to determine objectives and budget.
  • Approaching select national media to determine their requirements to attend a media famil to BGL.
  • Utilising media comments to approach Sheraton Noosa Resort to help support the famil as the accommodation provider.
  • Leveraging the Sheratons involvement to bring Bistro C on board to develop and host a subsidised media breakfast.
  • Attracting key Noosa-based chefs to attend breakfast to meet national food media.
  • Securing Noosa Shire Mayor Bob Abbotts attendance at the media/chef breakfast.
  • Securing respected naturopath, Michele Blondel to speak at evening dinner, to highlight health aspects of ginger and traditional medicinal practices.
  • Developing interesting fact sheets and media releases for media kits.
  • Working with Buderims cookery consultant, Barbara Harman to ensure key messages were conveyed within actual menu development ie. health, versatility, flavour, usage.
  • Develop appealing media teaser to elicit immediate response from media(Appendix 3)
  • Overseeing all travel itineraries and bookings.
  • Briefing all personnel involved in the famil to ensure all understood their roles and responsibilities.
  • Planning and supervision of event set-up, run schedule, and speakers.
  • Preparation of promotional signage at Sheraton gala event.
  • Liaison and meetings with key participants Sheraton Noosa; Anthony & Ann Everingham (ginger grower and jeweller); Bistro C; Riverlight Ferry Cruises; Mayor Bob Abbotts office; Nutrition Consultant Michele Blondel and celebrity MC, Scott Williams.
  • Designing and printing menus, place cards, name tags and supervising photography.
  • Coordinating Sheraton masterclass with Executive Chef and Chef De Partie.
  • Media follow ups and client reporting.
  • Conducting client de-briefing session.
  • Development and issue media survey form and evaluating responses.

Reviewing media coverage results and reporting to client.

Results: 

  1. Media that attended the national Buderim famil included: Australian Womens Weekly, Womans Day, New Idea, NW, Simply Lite, Daily Telegraph, Thats Life, Good Medicine, Practical Parenting, Australian Table, Australian Good Taste, Gourmet Traveller, Family Circle, Food Management News, FHM, the Weekend Australian Magazine and Sunshine Coast Daily.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
  2. While twelve media attendees was the target, eighteen attended, representing a combined readership of over 10 million.
  3. Good Morning <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Australias celebrity cook, Dorinda Hafner attended the familiarisation and devoted a 12 minute segment to Buderim Ginger and the SunshineCoast activities.
  4. Nineteen media articles ran across a range of publications as a result of the famil. Key messages the famil was designed to promote appeared in most articles.
  5. Media survey results returned showed unanimous support for the organisation and famil itinerary (Appendix 1)
  6. Sunshine Coast businesses that participated in the famil included the Sheraton Noosa Resort, Bistro C, 13 high profile chefs, Noosa Riverlight Ferry, AustralianCollege of Natural Medicine, and a local ginger grower and jeweller. 
  7. Buderims retail range has maintained shelf presence, particularly pleasing given that the national jam category is shrinking, with some major brands experiencing line deletion.
  8. In November 2000, Buderim achieved a sales milestone.  It recorded its first 
  9. $1 million month in retail sales. This figure had never before been reached for a single    months retail revenue in Buderims history
  10. Buderims retail sales growth for the six months from June 2000 to December 2000 has increased 17%, even though there was no advertising support.

The exercise was conducted within the allocated budget

Evaluation: 

  • 29 invitations were issued to media.  Of these, eighteen media attended, with others unable to attend, requesting information from the famil. (Appendices 3 & 4).<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
  • Of the media articles that have appeared to date 99% mentioned Buderim Ginger; 98% mentioned gingers health benefits; 99% mentioned at least one Buderim retail product; 100% mentioned gingers one or more unique flavour benefits. (Appendix 9)
  • Of the media attending, 12 represented Buderims core consumer demographic of 25+ female primary grocery purchasers. These publications have a combined readership in excess of 8 million.
  • A formal survey issued to media attendees following the famil indicated 100% of respondents were in favour of the exercise (Appendices 1 & 2). All respondents requested future company and product information updates.
  • A number of media maintain regular contact with Buderim and BWH following the famil. 
  • Buderims comments on the media exercise and resulting publicity are listed in Appendix 1A.

ETHICS

This marketing communication campaign was carried out in strict accordance of the PRIAs Code of Ethics.