Foster Farms, a family owned company based in Livingston, Calif., is the largest poultry producer in the Western United States. The 61-year-old company enjoys strong brand awareness and consumer loyalty, producing and delivering more than 750 million pounds of fresh chicken and turkey each year throughout the West. In 2000, Foster Farms identified a rapidly growing segment of consumers buying its poultry products – Hispanic families. Although the Hispanic population was the fastest-growing demographic in the West, Foster Farms had never addressed this audience directly.
Foster Farms is based in California’s Central Valley, and many of the company’s employees are of Hispanic descent. With this in mind, Fineman Associates Public Relations (FAPR) explored ideas for maximizing brand exposure among this new target audience. FAPR recommended community relations-based outreach to speak directly to Hispanic consumers.
A special event was developed to honor the heritage of the Latino community, involve Foster Farms’ own “family” of employees, and also promote the Foster Farms brand in its own backyard – specifically Fresno, Calif., a Central Valley city with one of the highest Latino populations in the state. The Foster Farms Fresno plant employs 1,200 and has a 10-year history in the community. To leverage these community ties and reach out to the Hispanic communities throughout the Central Valley, FAPR worked with Foster Farms to establish an annual one-day street festival to take place in Fresno, and draw participants from throughout the Central Valley. The festival would be the first annual Foster Farms Dia de la Familia Fiesta, or Day of the Family Celebration, to honor Latino tradition and culture. To make it timely, the event was planned to fall during Latino Heritage Month.
- Create an annual Foster Farms-sponsored event to honor Latino Heritage Month (Sept. 16 – Oct. 15).
- Establish a deeper relationship with Hispanic consumers in the Fresno and Central Valley communities.
- Build Foster Farms brand loyalty among these consumers at the grass-roots level.
- Through media coverage, raise Foster Farms’ visibility and image as a good corporate citizen among Hispanics.
The Hispanic communities of the Fresno and Central Valley of California as well as Central Valley media.
Acknowledging the fact that the Hispanic market is the fastest-growing consumer demographic in California, FAPR realized that Foster Farms must communicate with this audience directly. Foster Farms needed to increase the visibility of the Foster Farms brand and establish an emotional connection with Hispanic consumers; thus increasing brand loyalty. The first-ever Foster Farms Dia de la Familia, a one-day street festival, would take place on Oct. 1 – during Latino Heritage Month.
FAPR recommended developing a partnership with Arte Americas, a Fresno-based Latino cultural organization that is highly respected among the Central Valley’s Latino community. Arte Americas provided the entertainment for the fiesta, aligned itself with Foster Farms and in turn received a $20,000 donation resulting in part from proceeds generated from Foster Farms Dia de la Familia Fiesta sponsorships. To gain maximum publicity, Foster Farms commissioned a well-known local Latina artist to design a poster and logo used to publicize the event. The Fiesta, filled with Hispanic food, music, art and dance, was unprecedented in the city of Fresno and presented a chance for the community to come together and honor the rich Latino heritage of the Central Valley. For the first time, except for the millennium party, the streets surrounding the Fresno convention center were shut down, creating a great deal of excitement throughout the community.
As a further news hook, FAPR organized a Foster Farms Hispanic Chicken Recipe Contest in conjunction with the Fiesta. This event was promoted in Food 4 Less stores in the areas around Fresno with the largest Latino population. After a statewide, publicity-generating call for entries, hundreds of recipes were received for the contest; most coming from the Central Valley. The winner was picked from a judging panel comprised of local media celebrities and community leaders. Local and state politicians were to issue proclamations recognizing Foster Farms for its contribution to the Hispanic community.
FAPR distributed a news release describing the event to long-lead publications targeting event listings sections.
FAPR issued a news release calling for entries for the cooking contest and promoted the contest in area grocery stores. Area celebrities including KOQO disk jockey Chucho and Univision’s Maria Gutierrez, judged the contest.
FAPR organized an after-school art workshop held by the artist who designed the Dia de la Familia poster and invited Fresno TV stations to cover the workshop as event “pre-publicity.”
FAPR pitched heavily in the two days leading up to the event to draw as many media as possible to the event.
All the major publications and TV news stations in Fresno and the outlying areas were targeted with information about the event, including all Spanish-language media.
Participation from City and State officials emphasized how well received the event was. The following politicians took part in the opening ceremony and issued proclamations pronouncing Foster Farms as a good corporate citizen: Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson, County Supervisor Juan Arambula, Congressman Cal Dooley, and representatives from seven other US and State Senatorial and Congressional offices.
Thousands of local residents turned out to enjoy the event. The media coverage of the event effectively positioned Foster Farms as a good corporate citizen and sent the message that Foster Farms cares about the Hispanic community. Foster Farms donated $20,000 to Arte Americas, a popular non-profit Latino Art Center located in downtown Fresno, resulting in community goodwill. Based on the extensive media coverage, the success of the first event, and accolades from Hispanic leaders and community members, a second-annual Foster Farms Dia de la Familia Fiesta will be planned for 2001.
TV: The Foster Farms Dia de la Familia Fiesta, Foster Farms Chicken Recipe Contest, and a pre-event artist workshop were covered before the day of the event by the ABC, CBS and Univision affiliates in Fresno. Total pre-event TV coverage of 3:16.
TV: The Foster Farms Dia de la Familia Fiesta was covered by the ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and Univision affiliates in Fresno as well as PBS from Sacramento. Total event coverage of 2:32.
PRINT: Event previews and coverage of the chicken recipe contest were included in Fresno Bee, Lemoore Advance, Merced Sun-Star, San Francisco Examiner, Vida en el Valle, San Jose Mercury News, and Via Magazine Online.
PRINT: The coverage of the event, recipe contest judging, and post-event reached approximately 850,000 readers of publications including Fresno Bee, Vida en el Valle, Merced Sun-Star and El Grafico.