Since the advent of celebrity cooks, foodie TV shows and endless
Mediterranean recipes in the colour supplements, times have never been
so good for that most perfect accompaniment to the sun-dried tomato:
In addition, it has been heavily promoted by the European Union since
the early 90s, through the Olive Oil Information Bureau. Having helped
produce a 200% increase in olive oil usage during 1991 and 1993,
Grayling Public Relations is now working on the 1996 to 1998
The main thrust of the campaign is to convey the health benefits of this
product, particularly among lower socio-economic groups and those
outside London and the South-East, where it has still not penetrated as
an everyday item.
As well as launching the campaign and providing response to all media
and consumer enquiries, Grayling is also in the unusual position of
co-ordinating all the marketing disciplines.
This includes national TV and press advertising with ARKS Advertising in
Dublin, below-the-line database management and booklet distribution
through MBO:RCF, and printing factsheets and recipes for distribution
through reader giveaways and media enquiries with Riley London.
’Usually, the lead company in a cross discipline programme is the ad
agency,’ says Caroline Black, director of the Bureau at Grayling. What a
public relations agency can offer above an ad agency, she believes, is
the attention to detail, which is crucial in this type of big, generic
Everyone working on the Bureau roadshows, for example, was invited to
London to take part in a tasting, so each could speak authoritatively on
’Unlike ad agencies, PR companies don’t split their staff into media,
creatives and planners. We view the task from a holistic viewpoint, and
at Grayling we recruit people with experience in other marketing
We understand that PR doesn’t automatically provide the answer to all a
client’s needs, only part of them.’
Since Grayling, ARKS Advertising, Riley London and MBO:RCF are all owned
by Lopex , each can communicate in a kind of shorthand every day, and
there are also cost benefits to the client.
’A seamless integration between the PR agency and the other marketing
disciplines means easier management all round,’ says Cecilia Gylden,
administrator of the campaign at the European Commission, DG V1
Agriculture. ’This synergy also means that the effort behind the
campaign is multiplied and the budget available used as effectively as
Handling all 29,000 responses generated by press ads since June, 1996 -
involving the receipt of coupons and requests for recipes, fulfilment
and subsequent data capture - is the job of MBO:RCF.
Once this data is evaluated and analysed, reports are sent back to
Grayling on a weekly basis, together with recommendations for more
questions to create new data fields. From this, Grayling makes decisions
on the project’s future.
This is the first time MBO:RCF and Grayling have worked so closely. ’It
set us on the road to other collaborations,’ says MBO:RCF production
director, Brenda Newman.
’The advantage of working with a sister company is that we are all
working as a team, offering the client a truly integrated,
through-the-line marketing service. We have the same mutual aim to make
the campaign succeed; there is no rivalry or apportioning of blame.’
Thanks to several open days, professionals from each discipline gain an
insight into each other’s business operations. ’By understanding how we
all work, we can avoid the usual pitfalls,’ she says.
So far, figures compiled by ACN MEAL show that since June 1996, there
has been a 37% increase in the consumption of olive oil. Not all of this
can be put down to the efforts of Lopex Group - sales of Olivio and
similar spreads, for example, must have some impact.
Black admits it is impossible to separate the increase attributable to
the EU’s campaign, particularly since many branded olive oils time their
marketing efforts to coincide with its campaign.
Gylden sees the Bureau as giving olive oil importers ’ammunition’ with
which to organise their own marketing. ’They concentrate on brand
messages and leave the general education to the EU.’ k
Client: European Union
Task: Integrated campaign to promote use of olive oil