Reality Check: In this economic climate, many people who once donated to their local food bank are now food insecure and reaching out to the same food bank for help. According to Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, food insecurity affects 49 million Americans, including 14 million children.

Smithfield, the nation’s largest pork manufacturer, saw the growing trend of food insecure families and responded to an opportunity to give back to people in need who, in better times, are its loyal customers. With the help of its consumer spokesperson, Food Network’s Paula Deen, Smithfield launched a national and unprecedented commitment to donate 20 million servings of protein to food banks over a three year period. Smithfield’s Feeding the Hungry Coast-to-Coast Tour kicked-off in November 2009 with a donation of 250,000 pounds of protein to the Food Bank For New York City – enough to feed one million New Yorkers – the largest food donation in the history of the facility. Since then, Smithfield has donated more than 1.8 million pounds of protein … enough to feed 7.2 million people.

For three years, GolinHarris will be on the road with Smithfield and Paula Deen to increase consumer engagement with the brand, to nurture retail partner relationships in order to help grow sales and to generate media coverage and awareness regarding Smithfield’s generous initiative to give back to its customers and local communities.

• Generate positive branding, consumer involvement and national and local media coverage highlighting Smithfield’s efforts to help reduce hunger in America.
• Create successful turnkey programs with key audiences and Paula Deen in each market.

Local media in each market; food bank leaders and volunteers; grocery retail decision makers, employees and customers; Smithfield executives and consumers.

GolinHarris utilized secondary research to create a snapshot of how to drive the Feeding the Hungry program to success. We determined that in addition to the food bank donations, we could successfully leverage the donation visibility with Paula Deen and build in additional events that would engage Smithfield with grocery retailers and consumers while driving positive branding and publicity.

Key learnings:
• Food banks across the country were reporting a 46 percent increase in the number of food insecure people coming to them for help.
o Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, offered a robust network of food banks aligned with Smithfield key markets.
o Proteins are too expensive for food banks to buy in large quantities. Smithfield’s donation to a food bank of 35,000 pounds of protein is rare and would garner media attention.
• Following a much-publicized challenge with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), Smithfield needed positive publicity with the UFCW. Feeding the Hungry allows Smithfield and the UFCW to join in donations and generate positive news.
• Grocery retailers, Smithfield’s gatekeepers, needed to be included to realize publicity and customer relations while promoting Smithfield’s products.

• Select key markets for maximum media and consumer penetration while aligning with strategic partners and community need.
• Maximize food bank donation by planning a solid two days of activities in each market to maintain momentum and prompt news interest.
1. Food Bank Donation
2. Reception & Dinner for Smithfield and Grocery Retailer Partner Executives
3. Live Cooking Show with Paula Deen for Grocery Retailer Shoppers
• Tie-in grocery retailer announcement of consumer sweepstakes to “Win Tickets to Meet Paula Deen at her Cooking with Smithfield Live Show” to gain greater consumer awareness and to showcase Smithfield’s retailer partnerships.

We launched Feeding the Hungry with six Smithfield brand-wrapped 18-wheeler trucks carrying 250,000 pounds of protein driving across the George Washington Bridge in NYC on their way to the local food bank. Media coverage included live interviews with Paula Deen on Fox & Friends, NBC’s Today Show, Huckabee Show, Extra!, CNN, Bronx TV and more reaching 15 million viewers. Since then, we have:
• Conceptualized and executed 50 total Food Bank Donations, Retail Cocktail Receptions, Executive Dinners, Book Signings, Exclusive Celebrity Meet & Greets and LIVE Paula Deen Consumer Cooking.
• Completed two (2) satellite media tours promoting Smithfield’s Feeding the Hungry initiative
• Launched a successful Facebook campaign to engage consumers and increase their brand awareness. (See supplemental pages on Facebook campaign.)

Since the program’s launch:
• The campaign has thus far proven to be highly successful, with media coverage in 241 outlets, reaching nearly 52 million viewers with a conservative advertising equivalency of $3 million – more than 10 times Return-On-Investment.
• We grew Facebook’s fan base by more than 400 percent in just 24 hours, received 12,000 fans and receive an average of 23,000 impressions per posting.
• Smithfield has donated to 50 food banks across the country more than 1.8 million pounds of protein – enough meat to feed 7.2 million people. Smithfield products and branding are always front and center.
• 30 total Retail Cocktail Receptions, Executive Dinners, Book Signings, Exclusive Celebrity Meet & Greets and LIVE Paula Deen Consumer Cooking Shows have been conceptualized and presented in lovely, exciting and valuable forums for all audiences in key retail markets. Smithfield branding is visual at every event. (See enclosed photos.)
• Photography taken by GolinHarris of each event is designed and presented in a final hardcover coffee table book and presented to Smithfield executives, retail executives, food bank executives and VIPs.
• Letters of Thanks/Congratulations from food banks, retailers and Smithfield representatives offered validation of the program’s success.
• GolinHarris’ success continues to help build Smithfield’s generous initiative for another two years.