It was a big night for U.S. Apple Association (USApple) on April 9 at the National Agri-Marketing Association’s (NAMA) 2014 Best of NAMA awards ceremony. Wendy Brannen, director of consumer health and public relations for USApple, and three members of the association’s public relations team from Harvest PR & Marketing, were called to the podium on four occasions.
USApple won first place medals for Media Relations; Producer or Company-Funded Consumer Public Relations Campaigns; and Media Events. The non-profit, which represents all domestic apple growers, packers and processors, also picked up a Merit Award as first-runner up for Social Media and was one of three nominees announced that evening for Public Relations “Best in Show.”
“These awards are very nice recognition of the hard work and creative thinking of Wendy, her public relations team, and the support and input from members of the USApple Education Committee,” says Jim Bair, association president and CEO. “Apples are wholesome and nutritious, and every day we are working on fun and innovative ways to tell that story.”
- Producer or Company-funded Consumer Campaign
USApple’s tradition of funding health research paid off with big outreach numbers last year and earned it a top nod for Producer or Company-funded Consumer Campaign, along with a Best in Show nomination. The campaign, aptly entitled “An Apple a Day,” utilized results from a USApple-funded Ohio State University Study that revealed just one apple a day lowered oxidized LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, by 40%. The campaign garnered nearly 70 million media impressions in its first year, and that momentum continues to build and serve as a platform for subsequent PR education campaigns.
- Events – Media
Another top honor came from USApple’s “Art & Science of Apples” New York City Media Tour. To keep apples top of mind among national media, USApple embarked on “The Art & Science of Apples” media tour and campaign, which included visits to national consumer media outlets to promote not only apples’ health, nutrition and research (the science), but also varieties, taste and grower stories (the art). The resulting media impressions have topped 61 million.
- Media Relations
In 2013-2014, the association also strengthened its media strategy to generate consistent, positive coverage not only in Tier-1 national outlets, but also Mid-Tiers (i.e., dailies and other prominent short-lead print and digital outlets).
This campaign, which picked up a third NAMA 1st place, resulted in 84 million consumer impressions. The strategy included surveying food and health media nationwide to determine their content needs. The campaign’s primary focus was sharing original content and key apple education materials along with newly developed recipes and photography.
- Social Media
USApple also earned a Merit Award for social media promoting its “Appletizing Apple Pairing” Recipe Contest. The association has continued to see a lift in numbers associated with its social media efforts that correlates directly to its growing social media strategy.