Al Fresco, the country's leading all-natural chicken sausage, has updated its logo and packaging and launched a national marketing/ advertising campaign -- including its first major online push and a revamped Web site -- to support the "evolved" brand image.
The branding tweaks and campaign were actually inspired by strong sales trends for Al Fresco, according to the brand's senior manager, Sarah Crowley. Kayem Foods, Inc., the 100+-year-old, Chelsea, Mass.-based, privately held company that makes the national Al Fresco line -- as well as regional brands including Fenway Franks, Kayem and 13 other brands of meat products -- embarked on consumer research to maximize Al Fresco's momentum, Crowley tells Marketing Daily.
"It turned out that in addition to loving the product itself, our customers and consumer target audience liked a lot about our marketing and packaging," Crowley says. "But we also identified opportunities to build on those strengths."
To heighten appeal to the core target audience -- women 35 to 54 with household incomes of $75,000+ who are into epicurean but healthful foods -- the new logo maintains the original's sun image and green background (critical to conveying the product's natural image). However, it's designed to better pop out of the green background, explains Crowley. Moreover, the logo is about three times larger on the new packaging than it was traditionally, and it includes a more visible "All Natural" message. In addition, the packages have easier-to-read nutrition labels.
The integrated marketing campaign supporting the updated brand image includes new ads in key cooking magazines and Web sites, including Cooking Light, Food Network Magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray, Eating Well, Fine Cooking, AllRecipes.com, Recipezaar.com, FoodNetwork.com, MyRecipes.com and most recently, Yahoo.com.
The advertising, the brand's revamped site (www.alfrescoallnatural.com) and other marketing features Al Fresco's executive chef, Susanna Tolini -- a graduate of the Johnson & Wales School of Culinary Arts who developed new products for Trio's Pasta, Stop & Shop and Hans Kissle before joining Al Fresco -- as the new "face" of the brand.
And the marketing push goes well beyond advertising, to bring in numerous contests and engagement devices being promoted in both print and digital.
According to Crowley, examples include Eating Well's featuring Al Fresco-based recipes created by Tolini, subsequently voted on for popularity by its readers, as well as contests in both Eating Well and Rachael Ray in which fans have submitted Al Fresco-based recipes (more than 500 received). Tolini is judging those user-submitted recipes to determine the grand and secondary prize winners. The Eating Well grand prize winner will receive a $1,000 Williams-Sonoma shopping spree; the RR grand prize winner will receive a four-day spa vacation, and have her recipe featured in the magazine.
Another effort, with Cooking Light, includes a full page in CL's May print issue featuring Al Fresco-based recipes created by CL's own executive chef, Billy Strynkowski, encouraging readers to vote online for their favorite recipe. Voters are entered in a sweeps, with a grand prize of Strynkowski making a personal appearance to host a BBQ in the winner's own backyard for her and 10 of her friends.
Al Fresco has already had a presence on Facebook, but the new campaign/engagement devices are driving the brand's interactivity to new levels, says Crowley. The Cooking Light promotion, for instance, has generated more than 13,000 entries through Facebook in just two weeks, she reports. (Al Fresco is still assessing how to best employ Twitter for its target audience, she says.)
The core objective of the campaign and new brand/marketing approach, Crowley sums up, is to encourage the core target audience to "think about new, creative ways that chicken sausage in general, as well as Al Fresco in particular, can be used to enhance the flavor and nutrition value of dishes ranging from pizza to much more elaborate creations."