From the Editor: November 2010
Sharing Our Stories
By Kristy Nudds
Who made your eggs today?” was the first thing Harry Pelissero, general
manager of Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO), asked me when I called to talk
with him about the organization’s new marketing campaign.
Who made your eggs today?” was the first thing Harry Pelissero, general manager of Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO), asked me when I called to talk with him about the organization’s new marketing campaign. I was able to answer the question without hesitation, having just returned from breakfast with egg farmer Dianne McComb at a London, Ont., restaurant her farm supplies with eggs.
But most consumers can’t answer that question so easily. Some understand that the eggs they buy in the grocery store come from a Canadian farm. But, startlingly, many don’t. Many of those in the industry won’t find this very surprising; however, research conducted by EFO shows just what consumers are having a hard time understanding, and what they want to know.
EFO researchers wanted to gain some insight into consumer thoughts and habits. They utilized surveys, focus groups and discussions with a wide spectrum of women aged 25 to 60 (women were used because they are the largest purchaser of eggs for households). Pelissero told me that EFO discovered a lot about how consumers view eggs and egg farming; namely, that consumers really want to know where their eggs are coming from, and more about the farmer.
So, the EFO has launched what he says is its “biggest push” with respect to consumer marketing to date – its “Who Made Your Eggs Today?” campaign, which launched in early October. The premise of the campaign is to allow consumers to get to know real egg farmers, and to understand that there is indeed a farmer behind every farm.
It’s the type of campaign that, quite frankly, is overdue – not just within the poultry industry, but within the entire agricultural production community. As the distance between urban and rural farming continues to widen, consumers have no idea of the work and commitment – by real people– that goes into the products they buy.
The EFO campaign features 10 farmers from eight operations in the province. Each of the farmers answers a frequently asked question (as identified through EFO research) – “What is the difference between white and brown eggs?” or “What do chickens eat?” – on videos available through YouTube.
In radio and print advertisements, the participants tell listeners and readers a little about themselves. Billboards featuring a farmer with a clever piece of information will also be displayed on major highways throughout Ontario and on public transit systems in major city centres.
All participants I spoke with were excited and not afraid to share part of themselves with consumers. Everyone echoed the idea that engaging consumers on a more personal level made sense and that this type of marketing is where the industry needs to go.
I think they’re right, and I think sharing our story is something we shouldn’t be afraid to do. When it comes right down to it, consumers really just want to understand. As Dianne McComb, who is one of the participants, told me, she didn’t need EFO to sell her on the idea because she believes in the message. It’s great to see that the message is finally getting out.