MADISON, WIS. - The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board is in the early stages of developing an ambitious branding program aimed at distinguishing major marketers' Wisconsin-produced cheese from cheeses produced elsewhere.
Longtime WMMB advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding/Chicago was expected to deliver a strategic proposal last Friday that would kick off the planning for a comprehensive campaign slated to include advertising, promotion, public relations, education and training and trade communications.
'We've spent the past couple of years involved in consumer research to find out what we could say about Wisconsin cheese that would differentiate it in consumers' minds,' said Vicky Jones, WMMB manager of advertising and promotions. 'The challenge, and we are just getting started on it, is to try to find out what we can develop to put on packages that will communicate the high quality and standards Wisconsin cheese is made with.'
Wisconsin was the first state to license cheesemakers, who, according to state law, must be on-premise during the production process.
In the past, Jones said, the WMMB encouraged cheese manufacturers and marketers such as Kraft to put a blue foil sticker shaped like the state of Wisconsin on cheese packages. The problem, Jones said, was that the sticker didn't do enough to communicate real product benefits. In addition the sticker wasn't carried through other communications. WMMB hasn't done traditional consumer advertising for cheese during the past several years, but has used Waters Molitor, a Minneapolis-based promotion agency, to create retail promotions.
'The idea with the new marketing program is to use the symbol we develop for the quality in Wisconsin cheese throughout a variety of consumer communications so that, no matter where people are shopping, if they see the seal, they'll identify it with the high-quality product,' Jones said.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)