In her 2015 National Onion Association Publicity Summary, Kim Reddin, director of public and industry relations for the Colorado-based NOA, provided clear proof that consumer publicity and educational programs, combined with social media efforts and the return of the popular Onionista, Holley Grainger, to the NOA web site, all worked together to heighten the positive perception of onions.
And that’s good news for everyone in produce, because, as everyone knows, it’s the high tide that floats all the boats.
Kim led off her summary of 2015’s efforts by saying, “When a commercial airline starts an urban farm and a ballpark puts a garden next to the ballfield, it’s hard to argue with the notion that we’re living in a food renaissance!”
In providing results for onion-specific programs, Reddin said, “Results are given where possible for each project/placement. NOA does not use a tracking service, so these are what the association has knowledge of and has played an active role in getting published.”
Looking at the NOA’s well-conceived timeline, January 2015 kicked off with the Onionista’s return. Grainger, a registered dietitian who had worked with “Cooking Light,” started posting regularly on the NOA page, and both Twitter and Pinterest direct traffic to the site as well. Interest jumped quickly.
In February print and online releases were disseminated in partnership with Family Features, and Reddin said some 424 print orders resulted, providing readership of more than 6.5 million.
“There were 8,317,560 print impressions (views),” Kim said. With 875 online placements, the result was just under 80,000,000 impressions or views, with a total of 87,392,733 total placements on a national level.”
The article was also placed in several other publications, and Kim said, “NOA received the best placements possible for this project, and the numbers represent that.”
February also saw an editorial push through a health editor media event in New York City. “The event resulted in some great connections with small and large freelance writers and a few worked out as consumer health nutrition pieces,” Reddin said.
Capitalizing on March Madness, the NOA’s onion promotion featured cookbook author John Schlimm and a Twitter party.
The summer months were also busy, with a July “Onions Outdoors” summer promo that included a Twitter Party and Pinterest push. Reddin said, “Social Media, specifically Pinterest and Twitter… have created new content and relationships. The chat, #OnionsOutdoors, was the most successful to date, exceeding previous audience impressions by 50 percent with 3.2 million timeline deliveries.”
More summer fun was had in August with the underwriting of “Cooking 80/20 with Robin Shea,” a health-centered cooking show.
Sponsorship provided “top-notch videos and other media opportunities, all featuring onions later this summer/early fall.”
In September came the Radio Media Tour, and Kim facilitated radio interviews that featured Robin Shea as NOA spokesperson. The cooking personality “did a rock star job with 17 interviews, five national (three of these were syndicated shows), three regional shows for a total estimate audience of nearly 2.9 million listeners.”
The NOA press kit saw key updates, and in October and November came the full-court press Holiday Onion Promotion.
The consumer publicity list compiled by the NOA, with onions taking center stage, shows brilliant placements that include “The Vegetable That Treated Gunshot Wounds,” by Rebecca Rupp;
“How to Cut an Onion,” a PDF provided by NOA; and “Heirloom Meals’’ by Carole Murko with a blog/radio interview with Reddin.
“Carole’s blog and social media platforms provide over 110,000 unique monthly impressions plus an additional 400,000 listeners via her radio show and podcasts to partnering brands during the holiday season,” Kim said.
A January 2015 post on the Huffington Post online included a piece on storing onions, which resulted in a traffic spike for the onions-usa.org site.
In March Dr. Oz March mentioned “Apples/Onions for your health” following NOA/US Apple Association Health Nutrition Editor event in New York City in February.
July saw Women’s World publish “Preventing Knee Pain” by Brenda Kearns, an article that mentions onions as an anti-inflammatory food. Recipes included Chilled Salmon Salad with Orange Citrus Onions. In August My Atlanta Journal featured a column by Carolyn O’Neil entitled “Commonly Eaten Foods Can Be Super Foods” – and it was entirely about onions and their healthful and tasteful benefits. The site posts 16 million visits and over 57 million page views per month.
Kim also detailed foodservice publication placements including chef/recipe lead generation and photography, noting good reception for the CAFÉ Culinary Education conference. The NOA sponsored an “Onion Ring Showdown” snack station at the event, and as a result there were 26 school orders and more expected in January 2016.