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COTA launches ‘Think Canada Organic’ campaign

As part of its national brand strategy, the Canada Organic Trade Association has launched the “Think Before You Eat, Think Canada Organic” campaign. The promotion, funded in part by Growing Forward 2, will highlight to Canadian consumers the benefits of choosing Canadian organic products.

The campaign was developed over two years and will assist the Canadian organic sector to effectively market and differentiate from unregulated “natural” products and imported organic products. An industry and government co-chaired committee called Organic Value Chain Roundtable identified the need for the promotion and set up a task force with members from throughout the organic value chain to develop a brand concept. “The Canada Organic Trade Association was involved right from the beginning to help bring a broad market-oriented view to the project,” said Executive Director Matthew Holmes.

After the task force refined the concept and messaging, the brand was given a “teaser” launch during Organic Week 2013 via a large ad in The Globe and Mail. At the same time, COTA circulated the promotion look and message within the organic sector to build familiarity and confidence. The full website was launched in March 2014, along with social media and select advertising, which will continue through the 2014 growing season.

The website, which has both an English and French language version, is the keystone of the campaign. According to Holmes, “It is a seamless microsite with a priority placed on the user experience: beautiful images, engaging content, interactive elements, infographics, and new content added regularly. We’re placing a lot of focus on ‘Organic 101: the Who, What, Where, and Why.’ This summer, the site will feature actual organic farmers and manufacturers so that Canadians can meet the people who grow their organic food and learn why they’re so passionate about organic farming.”

Other components to the campaign include social media through Facebook with a “Think Before You Eat” page and Twitter (@ThinkCanadaOrganic). There will also be posters and postcards provided to retail and event partners.

COTA will roll out a number of print and online ads throughout the year including in focus-groups and broad public media such as CBC, The Globe and Mail, online, weeklies, and “foodie” periodicals like the Edible magazines. A first wave of retail posters and postcards have been distributed to the independent channels, and the association is preparing a POS phase for mainstream that will involve shelf-talkers, signage and feature displays.

The campaign’s goal is to encourage consumers to ask questions about their food, such as where it is from and how it is grown and made.

“We want them to choose Canadian organics over imports, and support a really successful growing market at home. We want consumers to be familiar with the fact that Canada’s organic standards are regulated and overseen by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and that organic products are the most-regulated foods in the country — meeting all food safety and food rules before they also get inspected to the organic standards,” said Holmes.