Beef. It’s Ready for Branding – New Campaign Has Consumer Focus But Smaller Media Budget

CHICAGO-The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is changing its strategy and its advertising message in a continuing effort to increase beef consumption.
TV spots created by Leo Burnett, Chicago, that begin airing today carry the theme “Beef. It’s what you want.” That’s a modest shift from the wording of its past theme-“Beef. It’s what’s for dinner”-but it represents a significant marketing shift, executives of the trade association said.
“We’re trying to act as a catalyst for making all stages of the chain, from producers and feedlot operators to retailers, focus on one single target: the consumer,” said Mark Thomas, NCBA vice president for new marketing initiatives. “The beef industry needs to act like a company with a branded product.”
Instead of the past advertising focus on easily prepared meal suggestions, the new spots humorously dramatize people’s craving for beef as their entrƒe of choice.
“Our research shows a strong emotional attachment to beef that other meats [such as chicken and pork] don’t have,” said Mary Adolph, NCBA vice president for U.S. consumer marketing. The advertising is intended to create in consumers’ minds a desire for our product” at home or in restaurants, she said.
Advertising spending over the next year will be $13.5 million, compared to $20 million in the past year, she said. Some ad budget money will instead be diverted to development of microwaveable beef products and to account-specific in-store promotional programs with major supermarket chains.
NCBA’s traditional reliance on co-branded consumer promotions with Kraft, Heinz and other food marketers will be de-emphasized, she said.
NCBA will spend about $4 million on television ads during August and September. Beginning in October, the media plan calls for heavy broadcast spending on the first Sunday of each month, throughout the day, with lighter broadcast and print advertising through the remaining weeks of the month.