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IEOOC marketing campaign embraces technology, mass media and social network

by Kathleen Thomas Gaspar | September 20, 2010
Working on multiple fronts to maintain an elevated profile among both buyers and consumers, the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee has an ambitious marketing campaign that involves media, social networking and the world of high tech.

Recently returned from filming a segment of Lifetime Network's "Balancing Act" with show host Danielle Knox, IEOOC Marketing Director Sherise Jones said that the campaign is in full gear, with the first airing of "Farm to Plate" on "The Balancing Act" to have aired Sept. 24 and the second to telecast Oct. 22.

The segment has the potential to reach close to 100 million households on Lifetime, which holds the highest viewership of any women's channel in the nation. Participation in the show is by invitation only, and Ms. Jones said that the focus on Idaho-Eastern Oregon Spanish Sweets educates viewers on the health and nutritional benefits of Treasure Valley onions as well as providing them with new recipes and cooking tips.

The show also gives the committee's web address and contact information in the closing credits, allowing the committee to field inquiries that stem from the show.

Ms. Jones traveled with IEOOC Executive Director Candi Fitch to south Florida for filming of the "Balancing Act" segment in late August, and the marketing director and Ms. Knox filmed a "tune in" promo that has been linked to and the IEOOC Facebook page.

The second airing of the "Balancing Act" segment will come just after the Produce Marketing Associaton's Fresh Summit in Orlando, FL (Oct. 15-17), and that Florida venue will showcase the two-dimensional quick response codes with T-shirt giveaways along with photo opportunities with a new and improved Jumbo, the IEOOC mascot, at the committee's newly designed booth, No. 3743.

The committee’s QR codes were introduced during the summer, providing entrée to specific pages on the committee's web site through the ubiquitous smartphone and a free application.

The codes themselves stem from trademarked technology developed in 1994 by Denso Wave Inc. in Japan and smartphone users with literally unlimited tracking capabilities using just the phone's camera function and a special reader application.

QRs were developed for tracking in vehicle manufacturing but have found applications in nearly every aspect of marketing and advertising. Stored addresses and URLs can be found in magazines as well as on billboards, buses, business cards and "just about any object that users might need information about."

With several codes now in place, Ms. Jones said that the committee has the "capability to build as many codes as we need."

The committee has also entered the world of Facebook with its own Big Onions page that provides crop information, video presentations, recipes and links to pages.