In 2009, Foster Farms, the West Coast’s largest poultry producer, launched a comprehensive campaign to inform the Latino community about “plumping”, a common, yet little-known practice of injecting chicken with up to 15 percent saltwater. Although plumped chicken contains 500 percent more sodium than non-enhanced chicken and costs consumers an average of $1.50 extra per package, many poultry producers label their plumped chicken “100% natural,” a legal, but deceptive practice.
Mosaico sought to develop a program with the objective of differentiating Foster Farms’ truly natural products from the saltwater-injected products of its competitors. In the midst of a recession, the campaign’s objective was to communicate the optimal value of the Foster Farms brand, compared to less expensive competitive brands.
As a result of the recession, Latino consumers are very price-sensitive with private label chicken. Competitor brands carrying the “fresh and natural” label appeared to provide the same product attributes at nearly half the price of Foster Farms chicken. Research showed that the company’s key differentiators, “fresh” and “natural,” were losing their meaning to some Latino consumers and the brand was beginning to lose share in this community.
Mosaico needed to reinforce in a culturally-relevant, clear and engaging campaign that Foster Farms was a trusted, family and community-oriented company. Mosaico’s role was to extend the reach of the advertising campaign while supporting the company’s overall business objective of preventing loss of market share to competing products. Culturally relevant messaging was developed to communicate the health message behind the campaign. Mosaico identified health-related messaging as central to effectively reaching Latino consumers. The campaign enlisted trusted Foster Farms’ nutritionist, Manuel Villacorta to serve as the key spokesperson. Villacorta acted as a primary brand ambassador to discuss the health attributes of Foster Farms’ chicken compared to “plumped” chicken competitors, and further explained the contribution of high-sodium consumption and other poor nutrition habits to ailments prevalent in the Latino community such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
The program was widely successful in informing consumers about plumping and convincingly differentiating Foster Farms’ truly natural products from the saltwater-injected products of its competitors. The event strategy helped forge over 400,000 personal interactions with consumers and media hits yielded over two million media impressions. By the end of 2009, Mosaico’s efforts resulted in increasing brand awareness and maintaining Foster Farms’ position as the preferred poultry brand of Latino consumers in California, despite the brand’s premium price and an economic recession. Furthermore, company research revealed that PR initiatives had a high recall rate among Latino consumers.