From Italy with Love: Introducing Carapelli Olive Oil
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From Italy with Love: Introducing Carapelli Olive Oil

Carapelli Olive Oil hails from one of the most picturesque cities in the world – Florence, Italy where for more than a century, Carapelli craftsmen have been producing olive oils. Fleishman Hillard’s brand-building initiative for the introduction of Carap

Paul Holmes

Carapelli Olive Oil hails from one of the most picturesque cities in the world – Florence, Italy where for more than a century, Carapelli craftsmen have been producing olive oils.  This long-standing commitment to excellence has resulted in Carapelli Olive Oil being the number one olive oil brand in Italy.  It was time to poise Carapelli to pour into American grocery stores.

Last year, Bertolli was the number one brand of olive oil in the United States and owned half of this $300 million category, followed by Berio and Star olive oils.  However, research showed that when American consumers were asked to name the brand of olive oil on their kitchen shelf, many were hard pressed to recall the name – unlike the people of Italy who had been using Carapelli for years.  We also found out that the majority of American’s did not understand how to use olive oil in their daily food preparation.  Fleishman Hillard saw this as the opportunity.  If we could build a user-friendly brand that educated consumers about different olive oils for different uses, we could earn our place on America’s kitchen table.  

AWARD WORTHINESS

Fleishman Hillard’s brand-building initiative for the introduction of Carapelli was key because it was the first imported brand of its kind distributed by Hormel.  Not only was the launch successful, it exceeded expectations as the most successful introduction of new products in Hormel Grocery Products history, according to sales and distribution figures. (More details in results section.)  It also was a winning launch because research shows that Carapelli is seen by the majority of respondents to focus groups as the only brand that educates consumers on usage both on the label in stores and in media coverage and literature.

OBJECTIVES

Maximize the U.S. launch and heighten awareness of the Carapelli brand, with an integrated marketing campaign that builds on the romance of Tuscany and on its Italian tradition

Educate American consumers in target audiences and retail partners about different types of Carapelli Olive Oil and their different uses through editorial coverage.  

Use the background of Carapelli Olive Oil to credibly position it as the brand of choice and as the trusted source for the consumers’ kitchen; Enlist a well-known chef to spread the product message and educate consumers

Propel Carapelli Olive Oil to one of the top three brands in the U.S. – all with a budget of $350,000.

Audience

Medium to heavy olive oil users, college educated women ages 35 – 64. 

Mid- to upscale with household incomes of $50,000+, women who are more adventurous in the kitchen than average and who enjoy cooking and entertaining. 

Northeast and West Coast consumers, home to 50 percent of total U.S. olive oil consumption. 

Consumer media (local, regional, national print and broadcast).

RESEARCH  

Research told us there was an aura of “specialness” surrounding olive oil, and a sense that olive oil enhances the flavor of foods and adds creativity and character to meals.  However, there was also an air of mystery and very real misunderstanding of how to use the product.

Consumers wanted and needed to know about the origin, flavor, and correct usage of olive oil.  An education issue needed to be addressed, and the brand that addressed it the best would reap the benefit of being the users’ olive oil brand of choice.  Fleishman-Hillard saw that educating the American consumer – from knowing the correct type of olive oil to use for specific cooking applications, to being able to comfortably and confidently experiment with olive oil when cooking – was a position that Carapelli Olive Oil could credibly possess.  

PLANNING/EXECUTION/TACTICS

We embarked on an educational and marketing campaign never before seen in the category.  All of the media materials were designed to enforce the four different olive oils for different uses.  Also, the European heritage and extensive history of producing high quality olive oil provided Carapelli with an opportunity to leverage that background and experience in the American market.  We also saw a tremendous opportunity here to move occasional users to frequent users by educating them about the different uses, which would positively impact sales.

Media Kits: To introduce our olive oil line to the media, we worked with our advertising partner, BBDO Minneapolis to specially design a media kit in a box to house the four bottles.  Trial is the best way to educate media as a conduit to consumers.  The box was designed to reinforce the look of the advertising campaign about the tradition of Carapelli.  The box also included a sample bottle of the Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a folder.  The folder imagery was filled with delicious food and product shots and images of Italy.  This box was sent to top-tier national food media and magazine food editors and the top 50 newspaper food editors.  Our other targeted media contacts received the media kit folder. 

Chef Program: Our goal was to develop a partnership with a well-established, highly credible chef spokesperson consistent with the positioning of the Carapelli brand.  We found Pino Luongo, a celebrated New York chef, restaurateur and cookbook author who grew up just miles from the Carapelli estate and whose mother used Carapelli in her kitchen in Tuscany. 

Pino Luongo was the face of our brand.  We introduced Carapelli to the national media at the launch for Mr. Luongo’s cookbook, Simply Tuscan.  Mr. Luongo hosted the party at his Tuscan Square restaurant in Rockefeller Center in New York.  Editors for Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, Martha Stewart Living, In Style, Redbook, Bon Appetit and producers from Later Today, CBS This Morning and Associated Press reporters were in attendance.  All party guests received a special Carapelli/Pino Luongo branded gift bag, which held a media kit, the brochure and recipe booklet, a branded chef apron and product. 

Book Tour: Mr. Luongo and Carapelli joined forces on a book tour.  Pino made media appearances in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco – all key markets for Carapelli. Fleishman-Hillard created a branded bookmark explaining the four different kinds of olive oil and the partnership with Pino as a giveaway in Simply Tuscan at book signing events Pino Luongo demonstrated his recipes using Carapelli Olive Oils and discussed Carapelli Olive Oils at cooking classes, bookstores, during media interviews, and at a variety of food industry and consumer shows including:

  • The Food Marketing Institute (FMI)
  • Fancy Food Show
  • Gourmet’s “Word of Mouth” 
  • Bon Appetit’s Wine and Spirit Focus events in New York and Chicago

Mr. Luongo and Carapelli hosted dinners and cooking classes in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. (Guests included reporters from The Oregonian, the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Magazine.)  From October 16 through November 15, Pino Luongo was the celebrated chef on Bon Appetit’s web site.  Consumers had the opportunity to ask Pino questions on-line regarding cooking and the usage of olive oil.  And finally, to get a jump start on the holidays, Fleishman-Hillard wrote and distributed a NAPS release focusing on “Tuscanizing” your holiday meals and enhancing them with olive oil; and Fleishman Hillard conducted a satellite media tour with Mr. Luongo talking about using Carapelli Olive Oils for holiday baking and cooking.

RESULTS

The launch of Carapelli Olive Oils was the most successful introduction of new products in Hormel Grocery Products history, according to sales and distribution figures.  (Carapelli Olive Oils are distributed by Hormel Foods.)  According to the latest ACNielson report ending November 25, the Carapelli brand share is up 1.1 points to 8.2% for the latest 12-week period, making Carapelli the number three brand of olive oil in the United States – behind only Bertolli and Berio, both of which have been well-established brands in this country for quite some time.  Carapelli is the number two brand in terms of distribution, achieving 82 percent.  
We have helped heighten the awareness of Carapelli by achieving more than 13 million print impressions to date. Many of the media impressions show that editors used our material verbatim.  Mr. Luongo has helped educate more than 12 million viewers and listeners, via radio and television interviews, about the different kinds of Carapelli Olive Oil and their different uses.  Tradeshows have reached over 40,000 consumers and food connoisseurs.  All together, we’ve achieved more than 65 million impressions.

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