At the end of 33 months, the National Pork Board's The Other White Meat. Don't be blah brand campaign provided positive results. Using a tool developed by private-sector and university agriculture economists in 2006, NPB was able to measure the return on pork producers' investment.

Launched in 2005, The Other White Meat.Don't be blah brand campaign rolled out in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia and Sacramento. In December 2006, Denver and Sacramento were dropped, while Houston and St. Louis were added in May 2007. The campaign employs advertising and promotion tactics designed to increase pork sales by helping position pork as a solution to the everyday meal-rut.

At the end of 33 months, the campaign is being evaluated with awareness, image and impact measures. NPB also measured changes in consumer expenditures that are attributable to promotion, advertising and public relations.

"By evaluating this campaign, producers are able to see the results from their checkoff investments," says Lynn Harrison, NPB president. "It also allows NPB to be more efficient in the allocation of limited funds."

The overall evaluation of the Don't be blah program started with a consumer brand-tracking study that found the awareness of The Other White Meat's advertising has increased significantly since the campaign's start. In addition, within the target markets, there's been an increase in upbeat descriptions of pork such as "spirited, energetic, confident and approachable." The brand-tracking study also found that a positive change in perception and behavior has occurred. Those aware of the brand campaign have significantly higher ratings for The Other White Meat than those not aware.

"These were all specific goals of the Don't be blah campaign," says John Green, NPB's strategic marketing director. "But it is the impact or purchase, where producers can really see their return on investment."

The tool that was developed in 2006 focused on calculating per-capita-pork expenditures as a way of measuring the impact of the integrated campaign activity in the target markets. The economists were able to track actual pork sales in the target markets using pork-package bar-code data collected from retail stores. From March 2005 to November 2007, the full length of the Don't be blah campaign, the program generated more than $103.3 million in total pork sales at the retail level. 

Over the same time period, the producer share of retail dollars was 29.72 percent according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Based on these figures, for every $1 producers invested in the program, producers received a return of $2.23. "There is a track record of solid results," says Green.  The results were consistent across markets that had provided a positive return in 2006. 

"The target markets were originally created as a proof of concept, a test to see if pork sales would increase in a more efficient manner if we invested more dollars and increased frequency of messages," says Green. "In markets like Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas, we were rewarded with increased total revenues for pork. In the future, we need to look at target demographic areas that have similar consumption patterns as these cities to continue providing producers with a positive return on their checkoff investment."

Building upon these successful results in the target markets, the Don't blah campaign will go national this year. Through a combination of high visibility print and online advertising, NPB will contemporize pork and promote it to a new, younger generation for maximum impact.

Source: National Pork Board