Cargill wants to lift some of the veil of mystery behind salt -- specifically its Diamond Crystal brands of kosher and sea salt -- with a new campaign that looks to educate consumers about uses, measurement and different kinds of the seasoning.
"Many consumers assume that all salts are the same," Grete Lavrenz, a representative of Cargill, tells Marketing Daily via e-mail. "Diamond Crystal salt has a unique pyramid-/multifaceted-shaped crystal. The goal was to tell a compelling story about how Diamond Crystal kosher and sea salts are different from the competition."
The centerpiece of the effort, created by Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis, is an interactive microsite, Salt101.com, that employs Food TV personality Alton Brown -- himself a kosher and sea salt enthusiast -- offering instruction and culinary advice.
"Consumers are not as aware of the differences among salt brands, or as familiar with the differences between table salt, kosher salt and sea salt," Lavrenz says. "This campaign will change that with a deep, rich education about salt and about the Diamond Crystal brand."
The Salt101.com site is divided into two areas: "The Kitchen" and "The Laboratory." In the kitchen, Brown teaches home chefs things like how to properly pinch kosher salt and crush it to precisely season food, as well how to use salt throughout the cooking process to improve taste and texture. "For instance, sprinkling a steak with Kosher salt several minutes before cooking pulls out water-soluble proteins, which aid the searing process," Brown says in one section.
In "The Laboratory," Brown explains how salt is formed and how it works on the tongue, as well as the history of salt and how the pyramid shape of Diamond Crystal kosher salt (a Cargill brand) contributes to food flavoring. "When these pyramids shatter -- like you pinch and sprinkle [salt], the resulting flakes can grab hold of food like culinary Velcro," Brown says in the "Stickability" section.
Cargill will promote the site with print and online advertising as well as public television underwriting and promotional events.
"People are cooking again at home, given what's going on with the economy," Lavrenz says. "Salt is a simple ingredient -- that leads to extraordinary results. [At the same time], consumers are using the Internet as their go-to source for tips, tricks and recipes. We believed the time was right for an online campaign to help explain salt."