Pompeian Olive Oil Tackles Favored Fats Problem: Olive Oil Usage Slipping

Olive oil, already used by less than half of U.S. cooks, is losing ground. Pompeian is out to win them over, using social media and digital out-of-home to shake women aged 25 to 40 out of their mealtime misperceptions. Colleen Nash, vice president of marketing for Pompeian, dishes on the new “Can your fat say that?” campaign with Marketing Daily.

Marketing Daily: Your company is grappling with a problem, which is that younger cooks, 35 and under, are turning to less expensive fats, right?

Colleen Nash: Yes. Olive oil is relatively small in terms of U.S. household penetration, especially when you look at the rest of the world. It’s used by fewer than 50% of home cooks here. And our transaction data shows people are leaving the category for less expensive and less healthy oils. With this campaign, which is from Hunter, we want to show that our olive oil is more beneficial and sustainable, emphasizing that it’s farmer-owned. We wanted something educational and disruptive.



Marketing Daily: What oils do people use instead?

Nash: Canola, seed oils, vegetable, soybean and butter. None of those offer the benefits of olive oil. The point of this campaign is to let people know how healthy it is – it’s good for your gut, brain and skin.

Marketing Daily: What’s the resistance?

Nash: Olive oil is intimidating, almost like the wine category. You walk into the grocery store, and there’s this sea of green. Do I want this one, because it’s from Italy? This one, because it’s extra virgin? As the leading brand of olive oil in the U.S., we feel like our job is to help people overcome that barrier and show them how to use it.

Marketing Daily: How much do people care where their olive oil comes from?

Nash: Country of origin is important, but not necessarily a purchase driver. Pompeian is globally sourced, so we get the freshest oil year-round. Some are from the Mediterranean, and we also have farms in the Southern Hemisphere in countries like Argentina, Chile and Peru. Our best-seller is smooth, with a more delicate taste. Our second best-seller is robust, with a much stronger taste profile.

Marketing Daily: Who is your target audience?

Nash: Home cooks, aged 25 to 40. The kind of women who are excited about food and who are looking for products that are authentic. So we’re using a lot of paid social, including TikTok, a first for us and our first use of digital out-of-home.

Marketing Daily: Social media makes sense for that audience, but I’m intrigued by the digital out-of-home ads running just in Chicago and Boston. Why?

Nash: We’re running out-of-home billboards, transit and rideshare tops near retailers that sell our product. That enables us to use a mobile ID and retarget those people with our paid social media. So we can retarget you with a health message later and then a sustainability message, reminding you that we are farmer-owned.

Marketing Daily: Why these two cities?

Nash: Boston is a city that uses a lot of olive oil, although not a lot of Pompeian. There are a lot of people there who know how to cook with it. So this is an opportunity for us to connect with olive oil users and purchasers and be able to explain to them why they should be buying Pompeian versus other brands. And in Chicago, people use far less. Olive oil consumption is relatively high on both coasts and low in the Midwest. So this is an opportunity market for us.

Marketing Daily: What are you hoping to accomplish with this campaign besides increasing sales?

Nash: We’re monitoring brand lift and changes in awareness. We’re studying recall and purchase intent.

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