Olivari Olive Oil & its social media campaign in Facebook

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Olivari Olive Oil, a brand of one of the world’s largest olive oil producers, has embarked on an ambitious social media campaign to stake a claim in the United States market.

The campaign, which began in February — will run for a year, and is by Twofifteen McCann, part of the Interpublic Group — entails a communication issued each weekday, ranging from videos to recipes, that celebrates “little things” both directly and indirectly related to Olivari and the campaign’s theme.

Olivari is packaged in Rome, N.Y., by the American arm of the Sovena Group, which is based in Lisbon; Sovena USA also supplies private-label olive oil, as well as GEM, Tri-Fri and Puglia olive oils, to American retailers and food service distributors. Sovena USA introduced Olivari — a blend of many Mediterranean oils that it describes as “natural and fresh olive oil, with a fruity and slightly sweet delicate aroma” in the American market in 2009. Although Olivari was initially distributed only in New England, it is now sold nationally at retailers like Walmart, Shop Rite, Stop & Shop and Food Lion. There are four varieties of Olivari: classic, extra virgin, extra virgin organic and extra light.

Tomas Tavares de Almeida, director of marketing for Sovena USA, said the American market generated one-fifth of the Sovena Group’s $1.4 billion in annual global sales. At present, only 5 percent of United States sales come from Olivari, though it generates more profit on a per-unit basis for Sovena than its American private-label brands.

Mr. de Almeida said Olivari “had a good story to tell, but we didn’t know exactly how to tell it.” To do this, it turned to Twofifteen McCann; the Lisbon office of McCann does advertising for another Sovena Group brand, Oliveira da Serra.

Scott Duchon, chief creative officer of San Francisco-based Twofifteen McCann, said the “little things” theme on which the new campaign is based came about because of the “so many little things Sovena does in the olive oil making process. We decided to celebrate that.”

Among the “little things” he said differentiate Olivari from other olive oils are the sustainable planting and fertilizing processes Sovena uses to grow olive trees, the care with which its olives are harvested and processed, its state-of-the-art mills and its pop-up bottle pourer, which was the cooking category winner in the 2011 Product of the Year USA contest.

To communicate these differences, the agency created a new Facebook page for Olivari, which is the home of the campaign’s social media program, “One year of little.” In an introductory letter on the page, Olivari said, “Over the next year we’re going to attempt to earn your friendship. For one year, we are going to celebrate the ‘little things’ in life by offering you a series of gifts. A variety of small, entertaining, informative, rewarding and surprising gifts. It will be a collection of little things, that, we hope, will get you to like us.”

Mr. de Almeida said the campaign was directed at women age 25 to 50 who would like to live more healthfully using a Mediterranean diet and products.

Among the dozens of communications issued so far in the campaign are series of short films that celebrate smaller, lesser-known holidays, like “Thank a Mailman Day,” and small, fleeting moments like waiting for a date. There is a series of documentaries that profile people who take special care in their craft, as Olivari does with its olive oil production, like Kirsten Muenster, a Bay Area jewelry designer. In addition, there are videos and photos for “little recipes” that incorporate Olivari, for example, for bruschetta, vinaigrettes and marinades, as well as “Mr. O” cartoons that so far have celebrated April Fools’ Day and welcomed spring.

All of the campaign’s content resides on Olivari’s Facebook page; depending on the message, it can also be found on Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. Although much of it is created by Twofifteen McCann, some was commissioned by the agency.

The campaign’s latest initiative starts Monday, when bloggers, selected and paid by Olivari and Twofifteen McCann, will begin blogging about topics relevant to the campaign’s audience. As is the case with the campaign’s daily messaging, not all blog posts will be food-related. The bloggers will be free to use the campaign’s existing content as inspiration for posts relevant to their own audiences. Mr. de Almeida said the campaign — whose budget is $1.3 million — “needed to get legs” and gain momentum before bloggers could participate in it.

He called the campaign “a very risky move, but it has been very good for us. We’ve doubled our U.S. sales in six months and increased distribution by 33 percent. Retailers love to hear about our campaign. It’s a compelling story told in a different way.”

He also said there was a “little scare” that the Olivari campaign could cannibalize sales of other Sovena olive oils in the United States. He said, however, that Sovena’s mission “is to bring olive oil to every person in the world. We don’t care how we do it, though we prefer to do it through a brand. There’s brand loyalty out there.”

Published: June 17, 2013
Article source www.nytimes.com
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