California Olive Group Promotes Healthy Eating

ATLANTA The California Olive Industry is using an Internet game to promote a nutritional program to children and the role of olives in healthy eating, the group’s advertising agency said.

The game is designed to teach elementary school children about the consequences of nutritional choices by allowing them to feed Olie, a cartoon olive, a selection of food. If they feed him too much fatty fare, he explodes. If they feed him healthy food, he is happy.

Stratum Marketing of Norfolk, Va., designed the game and a Web site to host it. Stratum has managed the industry’s Internet venue for the past four years in a partnership with Vittles, a Sausalito, Calif., agency that holds the Fresno, Calif.-based industry’s advertising account.

The industry spends less than $1 million annually on advertising. About 20 percent of the spending is for online advertising and marketing, said Pat Shea, a partner in Vittles. The rest is spent on public relations, print ads and educational programs that promote the taste and nutritional value of olives. Most of the traditional advertising drives traffic to the Web site.

The game will attract and retain children better than other options, Shea said.

“Preaching to children is not the way to get the message across,” she said. “We all have extremely high hopes that this will do it.”