Apr 7, 2007
Group Steps Up Its Marketing Efforts with Urban Bogs

Cranberry bogs sprang up out of nowhere in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles last month, and disappeared after a few days.

It wasn’t a case of spontaneous generation or some freak cranberry harvest. It was the Bogs Across America Tour, part of an integrated marketing campaign by Ocean Spray, a cooperative owned by 650 cranberry growers throughout North America (and 100 grapefruit growers in Florida, according to www.oceanspray.com).

In New York, an 80-foot by 20-foot bog was placed in front of 30 Rockefeller Plaza Nov. 1-3. In Chicago, a 30-foot by 50-foot bog was constructed in Pioneer Court Nov. 7-9. In Los Angeles, a bog was built near the Hollywood & Highland Center Nov. 14-16, according to Ocean Spray’s Web site.

Real cranberry growers stood in each bog (in their waders, of course) and educated passersby about the taste and health of cranberries and the heritage of the U.S. industry. Celebrity chefs participated in the events, and visitors received samples of Ocean Spray products and copies of the 12 Months of Cranberry booklet, filled with recipes, cranberry facts and craft ideas for the entire year – not just Thanksgiving. There was even a red carpet made of faux cranberries at the Los Angeles bog, according to the company.

A similar bog was built in New York City last year. It was extremely well received among consumers, and the company decided to expand the program to other cities this year, said Cindy Taccini, manager of marketing and public relations for Ocean Spray.

The tour is the centerpiece of Ocean Spray’s latest marketing campaign, which includes a mix of commercials, magazine inserts, coupons, samples and an updated Web site, Taccini said.

“This is probably the first and biggest integrated marketing campaign we’ve put forward,” she said. “We’ve really tied everything into (it).”

Ocean Spray’s marketing efforts have huge implications for the cranberry industry. Seventy percent of cranberries sold in the world come from Ocean Spray. It’s been the leading producer of canned and bottled juice drinks in North America since 1981. The company posted sales of about $1.4 billion in 2005, according to its Web site.

The new marketing campaign came about through Ocean Spray’s collaboration with Weber Shandwick and other public relations firms. It’s too early in the campaign to give hard numbers, but the elements are working, Taccini said.

“All signs at this point show this is the right thing to do,” she said. “Qualitatively, it’s been a great success.”

Advertisements featuring two cranberry growers standing in a bog talking about the benefits of Ocean Spray products are essential parts of the marketing campaign. The television commercials have gotten peoples’ attention. One of the products they’ve pushed is Diet Ocean Spray, a new juice drink, she said.

Educating consumers is a major goal of the marketing campaign. Seventy-two percent of Americans don’t know what a cranberry bog is or how the cranberry is harvested, according to the company.

The campaign also is pushing the health benefits of cranberries, but that’s nothing new, Taccini said.

“Ocean Spray has been investing in research for more than 60 years,” she said. “We’ve worked hard to turn what was folklore into fact.”

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