Maine Agency Develops First Consumer Ads For Fruit Association
BOSTON--Thanks to recent research findings from Tufts University, the diminutive blueberry now packs a big publicity punch as marketers seek to broaden its appeal.
The Wild Blueberry Association of North America in Bar Harbor, Maine, is taking advantage of the findings with its first consumer ad, now running in August issues of Health magazine. Created by Swardlick Marketing Group in Portland, Maine, the ad touts the berry's rating as the No. 1 antioxidant fruit.
The shop was also responsible for the association's trademarked logo, an image of a cluster of blueberries set against the Maine coastline, which reads: "Wild blueberries: nature's great taste."
Wild blueberries, which grow only in Maine and eastern Canada, have long been an ingredient in baked goods. Only recently, however, has the association licensed its trademark and stepped up efforts to attract packaged-goods companies to feature wild blueberries in their products. Those companies now include Little Debbie Snack Cakes and Betty Crocker, according to John Sauve, the association's executive director.
Sauve predicted that 1999 will be an "active rollout year," with the association's trademark appearing on an increasing number of packaged goods.
Using Japanese public relations firm The Asahi Agency, the association began promoting the wild blueberry in Japan last year, capitalizing on that country's interest in healthful eating.· With the results of Tufts' study now public, the association has stepped up its efforts in this country, moving from trade-only efforts to consumer advertising.
"Like anything, if a product is identified as the best in any category, you tend to want to promote it," said Sauve. "We're really trying to change it from a commodity to a brand."
Swardlick orchestrated a summer promotional event with McDonald's restaurants throughout Maine to support the shakes, pancakes, pies and sundaes made with wild blueberries. The agency is also at work on a brochure to be distributed in supermarkets as well as press packets.