In celebration of June Dairy Month, efforts by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) to revitalize the REAL® Seal are taking a big leap forward this month. A new campaign is being launched that allows consumers to learn more about the benefits of real, American-made dairy products and foods made with them, using a new Facebook page, blogger outreach, and digital advertising.
The REAL® Seal Facebook page (www.facebook.com/REALSealDairy) creates a new voice and visual feel to engage target audiences, especially moms and heads of households, encouraging them to buy dairy products and foods containing dairy products. The page's content includes interactive updates, multimedia presentations, contests, polls, and quizzes. One of the elements of the launch later in the month will be a "Name the Character" contest for a new, animated REAL® Seal cartoon character (in the photo). It can be viewed on the REAL® Seal website www.realseal.com.
Reaching out to bloggers writing about the mom/parenting, food/cooking, health/wellness, and lifestyle topic areas will generate online conversation and awareness surrounding the REAL® Seal campaign and lead consumers to official REAL® Seal web pages. In July, a special Buyer's Guide section will be added to the REAL® Seal website, where consumers will be able to go to find dairy products and foods made with dairy products that are using the REAL® Seal, as well as restaurants that serve only REAL® dairy products. REAL® Seal users will have the option of providing links to their company's website as well.
"The advent of social media has changed how brands relate to consumers," said Jim Mulhern, Chief Operating Officer of NMPF, which has leased the REAL® Seal from the United Dairy Industry Association and is spearheading the revitalization. "Today, there is a much is a greater expectation for transparency and engagement across the consumer packaged goods chain. The REAL® Seal allows dairy companies to define themselves amid a sea of imitators, and the new seal will also enable companies to utilize it as a country of origin label, which itself connotes important values."
Mulhern said that the marketing environment has changed dramatically in the 30 years since the REAL® Seal became a national icon, and that NMPF's efforts to work with dairy processors to use the Seal must harness new tools to reach consumers. The challenge will be to use social media and other digital outreach efforts to remind older consumers of what the Seal means, and to educate a new generation to look for the REAL® Seal on packages.
"The marketplace has become crowded by products packaged to look like dairy products, depicted as dairy products, even using the common names of dairy products, but that aren't real dairy," Mulhern said. "Foods made from grains, vegetables, plants and nuts and have usurped dairy designations like milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and the use of the REAL® Seal can help us reclaim some of dairy's traditional portfolio."
Currently the REAL® Seal is being used primarily on dairy products and pizza, said Jim Mulhern, Chief Operating Officer of NMPF. "By stacking messages like Made With, We Only Use' and American Made' above the iconic REAL® Seal symbol and dairy product descriptors like cheese, butter, dairy ingredients, we believe its use can be extended to a host of products made with real dairy products sold here and in export markets," Mulhern said.