Photo: Fresh From FloridaIn 2016, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Fresh From Florida program assumed responsibility from the Maitland-based Florida Tomato Committee for promoting the state's tomatoes.Throughout the year, the department used a variety of multimedia and outdoor advertising, including blog posts and sponsored social media posts on Facebook and Instagram to promote Florida tomatoes.
Fresh From Florida takes on tomatoes
It was a busy year on the tomato scene for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as its Fresh From Florida program assumed responsibility from the Maitland-based Florida Tomato Committee for promoting the state’s tomatoes.
“The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services implemented a robust marketing campaign in 2016 to promote Florida tomatoes,” said Jackie Moalli, senior marketing and development manager.
In February, the department launched a television campaign featuring four recipes using Florida tomatoes.
TV spots ran for eight weeks on more than 85 stations in 10 major markets throughout the state.
To support the TV advertising, a digital campaign was implemented on geo-targeted sites, including Foodnetwork.com, CookingChannelTV.com and RachaelRay.com.
Fresh From Florida also ran print ads promoting recipes using Florida tomatoes in Southern Lady and Garden & Gun magazines.
Billboards in five major markets throughout Florida reading “Buy Florida Tomatoes, In Stores Now” were in place during the same period to reinforce the TV campaign message, Moalli said.
Throughout the year, the department also used blog posts and sponsored social media posts on Facebook and Instagram to promote Florida tomatoes.
The department once again implemented a retail reimbursement program in 2016 whereby retailers nationwide were compensated when they featured Florida tomatoes in store advertising, she said.
“Over 30 retailers in the U.S. and Canada ran 26,981 store ads featuring Florida tomatoes,” Moalli said.
Twenty-two in-store tomato sampling events were conducted to support the retail advertising campaign.
Reggie Brown, manager of the Florida Tomato Committee, said Fresh From Florida did a good job in its first year supporting Florida tomatoes.
The transfer of promotion responsibilities came about after Samantha Daves, longtime director of education and promotion for the committee, retired.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offered “an opportunity to partner with a larger enterprise,” Brown said.
The industry had not been a major marketer in recent years, he said.
“Being able to get with a professional team that is broadly in the marketplace with a number of Florida products and adding the tomato category to the mix is a good way to go on our budget,” he said.
More promotions are in the works for the coming season.
“Plans for the 2017 campaign will again focus on recipes using Florida-grown tomatoes,” Moalli said.
New commercials will be added to the popular “tomato flatbread” spot, and new in-store grocery cart advertising will be implemented in February in stores throughout Florida.
“An equally strong multimedia campaign comprised of TV, digital, outdoor, print and social media will again be utilized to promote Florida tomatoes,” she said.
In October, the department introduced its “Fresh!” recipe series, a collection of hands-on “how-to” videos released every two weeks on Fresh From Florida social media platforms, Moalli said.
Each video features at least one Florida commodity that is currently in season in Florida.
“This initiative has proven particularly successful in promoting the Fresh From Florida brand,” she said.