A Public Relations Proposal for the American Egg Board, 1997
“AN EGG IS ALWAYS AN ADVENTURE” – OSCAR WILDE
Eggs should be avoided because they are high in cholesterol. This is the biggest MYTH that has cracked the good reputation of the egg in the past years. In 1945, the number of eggs consumed per capita each year was 402. Then the news broke – scientists discovered a link between high cholesterol levels in the bloodstream and an increased risk of heart disease. Americans have cut down on their egg consumption fearing negative effects on their health. Fifty years later, in 1995, consumption dropped to 240 eggs per capita.
The cracked reputation of the egg is now being patched up. New research is reveals a positive future for the mistreated egg. Furthermore, the egg industry has experienced an increase in production in recent years. In 1995, 174.4 million cases of eggs (360 eggs/cartons in each case) were produced, and in 1997, the number rose to 183.2 million cases. The U.S. egg industry is a major contributor to the nation’s food supply. In 1996, the distribution into the marketplace of the 177.6 million eggs produced is as follows:
53.0% – purchased at retail
27.9% – further processed (used in the manufacturing of products such as cakes, pies, pasta, etc.) for food service, manufacturing, retail and export
17.4% – for food service use
1.7% – for export
Cholesterol and its link to heart disease have been the biggest detriments to the egg’s good name. Nutrition experts recommended a daily limit of 300 milligrams of cholesterol in order to maintain a low cholesterol level. A single egg yolk contains 200 milligrams of cholesterol thereby causing experts to suggest a 4-egg-a-week limit. Since that time, however, changes in expert opinion have come about. Recent research has shown that there are two types of cholesterol: Dietary cholesterol, the cholesterol consumed in foods and blood cholesterol, the cholesterol found in the bloodstream (also called serum cholesterol). Recent studies have concluded that the amount of dietary cholesterol has little effect on the level of blood cholesterol.
The culprit is actually saturated fat, a substance that is not abundantly found in eggs. Blood cholesterol can be broken down into two major parts: HDL or high-density lipoprotein and LDL, low-density lipoprotein. HDL, known as good cholesterol, helps move cholesterol back to the liver for removal from the bloodstream. LDL, referred to as the bad cholesterol, helps cholesterol stick to artery walls. Saturated fat raises blood cholesterol and LDL levels more than any other element in the diet. Eating foods like red meat, which are high in saturated fat, strongly affect the cholesterol levels in the blood. On the other hand, eating eggs, which contain The. HDL cholesterol, is less threatening, according to nutrition experts. Studies have shown that many people on a low-fat diet can eat one or two eggs a day without measurable changes in their blood cholesterol levels.
The discovery of the differences between the bad cholesterol (HDL) and good cholesterol (LDL) helps to end this delusion of the egg. Prevention of heart decease means strict monitoring of the bad cholesterol in the blood stream. Spreading the news of the dietary cholesterol (good cholesterol) present in the egg will encourage American’s to consume more eggs. In addition, based on data from the American Heart Association, there are no direct relationships between egg consumption and Coronary Vascular Disease (CVD) mortality in male or female populations. Evaluating the data resulted in some interesting comparisons.
Weekly per capita egg consumption in France, the United States and England are 5.1, 4.5, and 3.3 eggs per week where as theCVD mortality rate per 100,000 per year is 250, 460 and 516 respectively. Japan showed the lowest CVD mortality rate, with the highest per capita egg consumption (6.5 eggs per person per week).
Salmonella Enteritidis (S.E.) bacterium was another concern regarding eggs. The situation with this bacteria is fortunately not as grave as it seems. If the egg is properly handled and prepared, the chances of consuming an egg that is infected with Salmonella is slim. In fact, the number of outbreaks linked to Salmonella contamination of shell eggs has steadily declined from a high of 77 in 1989 to 50 in 1996, according to John Mason, former director of the United States Department of Agriculture. According to Dr. Mason, the risk of contracting egg-related salmonellosis is extremely low for healthy individuals. Dr. Mason also mentions that there is one outbreak for every 1 billion eggs consumed. In addition, according to statistics of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Salmonella Enteritidis in eggs is not the main cause of food poisoning deaths. With proper care and handling, it poses no greater risk than any other perishable food. The American Egg Board is an active participant in the SafeServe program and is a member contributor to the Partnership for Food Safety Education. They, together with the Egg Nutrition Center, provide a variety of egg safety brochures for both consumers and institutional food service organizations. Tips include discarding any cracked or leaking eggs and keeping eggs refrigerated at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They also recommend cooking the egg until the egg whites are set and the yolk is thick but not hard. Salmonella is destroyed at a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 31/2 minutes or until the egg reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
A subject that also needs to be addressed in the analysis of egg consumption is the inception of egg substitutes. The first egg substitutes were created about 20 years ago and were largely made up of egg whites and were bought by heart patients and people watching their cholesterol. Since then, more brands and types of egg substitutes have been produced. However, substitutes cost about 20 to 25 cents a serving, or two to four times as much as real eggs. Also, they often contain artificial coloring and preservatives which negatively affect the taste.
Eggs are an inexpensive source of high-quality protein and are fairly low in saturated fat. One egg contains about as much fat as you’ll find in an 8-ounce glass of 1 percent milk. Eggs contain a high nutrient density and a broad range of vitamins and essential minerals. Majority of water soluble vitamins and minerals, all the fat soluble vitamins, and 45 % of the high quality protein are localized in the yolk. Therefore eggs are an essential part of the diet of people of all ages. They can provide many of the vitamins and minerals that seniors may be lacking in their diet. As for children, cutting out foods that contain cholesterol may actually deprive a child of essential nutrients necessary for proper growth and development. Serving children a cholesterol free diet can be a hindrance to good nutrition at a critical time in their lives.
An important piece of news about the egg is omega-3. Eggs are a rich source of omega-3, a fatty acid that is essential to brain growth and development. Studies indicate that omega-3 may reduce the risk of Cardiovascular Disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, tumor growth and diabetes.
With all the benefits that the egg can offer and with all the current research supporting its advantages, there are more and more reasons for the public to welcome the egg back into their diets.
To change the misconception of the egg
To create an awareness of the positive attributes of the egg
To educate the publics on the nutritional benefits of the egg
To persuade the publics to consume more eggs
The success of this public relations campaign greatly depends on selecting the right markets to direct it towards. Various target audiences are addressed in this proposal.
The main public this proposal seeks to target consists of male and female consumers aged 18 – 34. According to the Lifestyle Market Analyst, male and female singles of this age bracket are ranked one of the highest among the U.S. population to be involved in sports, fitness and health. The individuals in this group are concerned with improving themselves, interested in new technology (i.e., the Internet), and own and operate a personal computer. They travel frequently on business, spend considerable amount of time participation in outdoor sports, and enjoy gourmet cooking/fine foods. In comparison to men, the women are slightly more interested in improving their health, dieting and natural foods. Both the male and female audiences are technologically and media savvy, follow current trends. Another interesting fact is that many of these people are involved with their careers, therefore lessening the time for cooking and food preparation, especially in the morning. A majority of this public lives in metropolitan area.
Women aged 35 – 64 are also a public that must be targeted. They are usually the key decision makers in their homes, in terms of nutrition and diet for all members of the household Though, the total egg consumption of the average U.S. household may not have drastically decreased in past years. It is essential this audience become well informed, considering the vital role they may play in a large portion of households in the U.S. Men ages 35 -64 arealso an important public because of their increased interest in health and fitness.
Another important audience involved is the media. This group consists of food, lifestyle and health editors of major publications (newspapers and magazines). They are vital to the success of the campaign because it is through them that all the information is disseminated and ultimately reaches the general public. Also, the aforementioned consumers rely strongly on magazines for their nutritional information.
Schoolchildren, as the future consumers of America, are another important public. They play an influential role in the buying behavior of individuals in the home and often educate the older publics in the home. The public aged 6-17, should be informed about good health and nutrition. Good health is an important issue to emphasize on the younger generation, especially in today’s society where the age of children who are conscious of their weight and looks is becoming much younger. This concern with weight may unfortunately bring about unhealthy eating habits, which is something that needs to be avoided and prevented. It is important to note that the promotion to this public will be done in an educational capacity, and will be accomplished with the assistance of school officials.
The 65 plus audience is a minor public for this campaign. Although they are not an audience that the campaign is directly targeting, the 65 plus audience can nonetheless benefit from the information they receive from it. They consume a smaller amount of eggs and more egg substitutes due to health concerns, yet should be a target audience to educate the facts of cholesterol and eggs.
Primary and secondary research was conducted to identify the campaign’s target audience and their eating habits. Primary research such as surveys, interviews, and focus groups identify the ultimate concern of the publics regarding health, cholesterol and eggs. The current misconception of the egg and the methods to change the perception would be established through primary research. Secondary research from databases, references, previous and recent experiments, and the Internet aid the campaigns ability to deliver the appropriate and factual messages.
Primary research revealed 35% of the surveyed target audience did not eat eggs at all. Majority of the respondents ate cereal, breads, or fruit for breakfast. The targeted public, whom consumed eggs, ate both the egg whites and the egg yolk. Surveyors perceived eggs to be one of the foods to contain the highest amount of cholesterol. In actuality, eggs was one of the foods that contained the least amount of cholesterol in comparison to the foods listed in the survey (see appendix for sample survey).
Los Angeles was selected as the prime city to hold the campaign’s special event, due to it’s locality and demographic and psychographic profile. According to Simmons Market Research California is ranked 2nd in the leading production and consumption of eggs. Los Angeles is among the top ten cities in the United States to be a city concerned with improving health and interested in health and natural foods according to The Lifestyle Profiles Analyst, 1997.
Eggs are high in nutrients and contain a broad range of vitamins and minerals. They are also low in calories and saturated fats, making them an essential part of a well balanced or complete diet.
Creative tag-lines / slogans are included:
“Eat Eggs they’re good for you”
The Eggs-ellent Eggs Campaign will begin promptly after New Year’s, catching the attention of the many Americans who begin the year with New Year’s resolutions, many of which have to do with weight and health. The campaign will deliver the message of eggs being nutritious, low in fat and delicious. Various actions will be taken to achieve the Public Relations objectives, namely the following:
*Spokesperson – A spokesperson is essential in this PR campaign. A nutrition expert will be retained to represent the American Egg Board and act as the official spokes person for this campaign. As well as being a nutrition expert, especially in the area of cholesterol and heart disease, this person will also be an expert at dealing with the press. Key responsibilities will include a media tour, e.g., representing the Egg Board on morning shows, health and lifestyles shows; dealing with the U.S. schools and the media.
*Tie-ins – The American Egg Board will continue its relationship with the following organization American Heart Association, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Partnership for Food Safety Education, FDA.
*Point-of-Purchase advertising – this will be done in collaboration with major supermarket chains throughout the U.S. (i.e. Vons, PathMark. Shoprite). Each supermarket will be supplied with recipes for egg dishes that will be strategically placed at the egg shelves for consumers to take.
*Information pamphlets – these are important in that they would offer nutritional information on eggs that will be of use to consumers, educators and various interested publics. Some of the information to be included are as follows: nutritional facts, planning a healthy diet including eggs, sources of reference, recipes and safety procedures to handle eggs.
*Educating in the schools – information kits on healthy eating, good/bad cholesterol with an emphases on the eggs will be sent to U.S. schools, educators and school nutritionists. School nutritionists will be encouraged to plan meals that include more egg dishes. Schools will also be encouraged to include information on the health benefits of the eggs when lecturing students. This strategy will be supported by the company’s spokesperson on site appearances and/phone support.
*Health clubs – this involves a nutrition and food seminar supplement that will be sent to specified sport and fitness clubs and trainers. Club members will be informed of the factual information about eggs, i.e., good vrs bad cholesterol, high protein, etc. Club owner/managers will learn about new ways to prepare eggs and to include eggs in their diets which could be beneficial to their current training or diet routines.
*Editor’s personal “Eggs-ceptional Eggs” menu binder – “Eggs-ceptional Eggs” is a “keep on the shelf” menu of egg recipes and nutritional facts that will be sent out to all food, health and lifestyle editors to elevate the status of the egg in their minds. Cooking shows will also be targeted with this tool because of their popularity and powerful influence the have on cooking and eating trends. Prime cooking shows will be encouraged to mention “Eggs-cellent Eggs” facts while they prepare their meals, when they use eggs or add a nutritional fact about eggs. The binder will be constantly updated and, in turn, will always be in the mind of the editors.
*Menu Binder update #1: U.S. top restaurants serving Eggs-ceptional Eggs – this will involve a reputable restaurant critic selecting leading restaurants in the country’s top 12 markets that serve or are known for their egg dishes. A map showing the participating restaurants will be sent to different editors as a supplement to aforementioned “Eggs-ceptional Eggs” menu binder. This information will also be accessible via the client’s website. This Eggs map offers another interesting news angle approach for media to cover.
The events involving the food, lifestyle and health editors are vital in order to cultivate good relationships with them. A good rapport will encourage more media coverage. The magazine and newspaper coverage is important because the consumers being targeted rely on these publications for their health and nutrition information and advice.
*Sunday “Eggmunch” in the Park – this Sunday brunch will be held on the Sunday April 5th, 1998 – before Easter Sunday at the L.A. Central Park. This date was chosen because it will remind people of the festivities of Easter. Having the event on Easter Sunday might inconvenience the press people or families attending the event by encroaching on their Easter plans. A wide array of egg dishes (and dishes that complement eggs) will be available for the munchers at the event. The Sunday Eggmunch will also include fun activities for children (using eggs) and mini-workshops for people who are interested in improving their health and nutrition. These workshops will be tailored to suit the interests of the various publics attending the event. There will also be Egg Trivia contests with promotional items (i.e., T-shirts, sun visors) as prizes. In addition, the American Heart Association will be present to disseminate information to the public. This event will bring a lot of publicity for the egg and further inform the public through the festivities.
*World Wide Web – Using the already existing American Egg Board website, a link will be added to provide information regarding the Eggs-ellent Eggs Campaign. Due to the target audiences regular use of the Internet, a website offering information on egg nutrition is believe to support the Public Relations objectives.
*1-800-EAT-Eggs – A toll-free number offering additional information and the opportunity to request a free information pamphlets of Egg facts and various information.
*Promotional material – These items is expected to increase the visibility of the Eggs-cellent Eggs Campaign, such as postcards, T-shirts, caps, and refrigerator magnets.
The Egg Board will use a number of communication vehicles to achieve its public relations. Among the public relations tactics the Egg Board will employ are included:
Press kits — (which contains news release, background information, a fact sheet, and a VNR). Press Kits will be sent to school nutritionist, food, health, and lifestyle editors of magazine and newspapers, Food, health, and lifestyle producer of television stations, gyms, food, health, and lifestyle editors of online publications.
News releases — to keep the media informed of the latest news in health and nutrition, e.g., information on good and bad cholesterol, trends in eating, and to inform the media of up and coming events. Each news release will be special to the targeted vehicle.
VNR (Video New Release) — The American Egg Board will produce a VNR that includes general to specific information on eggs. Such as nutritional facts, health benefits and research to portray eggs in a positive way.
PSA (Public Service Announcement) — The American Egg Board will produce two PSA (TV. 30 sec & Radio 60 sec ) that includes general to specific information on eggs. Such as nutritional facts, health benefits and research to portray eggs in a positive way.
The Public Relations plan will be closely monitored and evaluated to ensure the effectiveness of the Public Relations program. The evaluation methods includes: surveys (e.g., survey following the special event and at the end of the campaign), sales and content analysis. Analysis of media clippings and post surveys will detect any change in perception of the egg and any change in eating or nutritional habits. The number of website visitors and toll-free callers will be a quantifiable determinant of reach. The number of request for information will show the demand for information on egg nutrition, egg recipes and health advice. Monitoring a change in the U.S. per capita consumption of eggs will determine the success of the campaign.
Estimated Campaign Expenses
School Program $24,500
Notes to the Estimated Campaign Expenses:
1. Pamphlets – 500,000 will be printed at a cost of $.10 per pamphlet
2. School Program – this includes 1-million handouts (cost: $.01 each), 30,000 posters (cost: $.15), and 5,000 nutrition guides for educators ($2 per guide).
3. POP Advertising – this includes a POP display in major supermarkets through the US for an average of 200 per state 10,400 total ($.15 per display)
4. Health Clubs – 5,200 top/popular health (Average 100 per state), (cost: $6 per package including shipping cost)
5. Editor’s menu & binder – 200 produced (cost: $10,000 preproduction, and $6 per copy including shipping cost)
6. Menu Updates – two planed estimated cost: $5,000 preproduction and $5 per update including shipping cost.
7. Press Kit – includes slides, pictures, eggmunch invitation, news release, fact sheet, T-shirt, VNR (note 8).
8. VNR (Video News Release) – production cost: $55,000, copies are $5 each.
9. PSA (Public Service Announcement) – production cost: TV. $50,000 copies are $5 each; Radio cost $10,000 copies are $3 each.
10. Spokesperson – $130,000 salary for 12 months and $50,000 for travel and related expenses.
11. Eggmunch (special event) – cost includes park permit/usage fee ($10,000), staff of 25 (5 workshop leaders at $200, 5 cooks at $200, and 15 helpers at $100);PA system and DJ $5,000, rental items, food ($15,000), and promotional items: spatulas, T-shirts and refrigerator magnets. Accomadation for up to 1,000 persons.
Better Health Magazine
Body Mind Spirit Magazine
Consumer Reports on Health
Country Living Healthy Living
First for Women
Ladies Home Journal
Muscle & Fitness
Natural Health: The guide to well being
Nutrition Health Review
The Walking Magazine
The Woman’s Journal
Journal of Food Science
Journal of Nutrition
Natural Foods Merchandiser
Nutrition Research Newsletter
Major Morning Dailies
USA Today-Arlington, VA
The Wall Street Journal- New York, NY
Top Daily Newspapers (Based on the highest circulation)
Wall Street Journal – New York, NY
USA Today – Arlington, VA
New York Times – New York, NY
Los Angeles Times – Los Angeles, CA
Washington Post – Washington, DC
Daily News – New York, NY
Chicago Tribune – Chicago, IL
Newsday – Melville, NY
Houston Chronicle – Houston, TX
Detroit Free Press – Detroit, MI
Chicago Sun-Times – Chicago, IL
Dallas Morning News – Dallas, TX
San Fransico Chronicle – San Fransico, CA
Boston Globe – Boston, MA
Philadelphia Inquirer – Philadelphia, PA
The Star Ledger – Newark, NJ
New York Post – New York, NY
Arizona Republic – Phoenix, AZ
The Plain Dealer – Cleveland, OH
Star Tribune – Minneopolis, MN
San Diego Union Tribune – San Diego, CA
Miami Herald – Miami, FL
St. Petersburg Times – St.Petersburg, FL
Orange County Register – Santa Ana,CA
The Oregonian – Portland, OR
Baltimore Sun – Baltimore, MD
Rocky Mountain News – Denver, CO
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – St. Louis, MO
Atlanta Constitution – Atlanta, GA
Denver Post – Denver, CO
Boston Herald – Boston, MA
San Jose Mercury News – San Jose, CA
Radio (Top 20 DMA)
#1 New York, NY
WABC-AM – New York, NY
WMXV-FM – New York, NY
#2 Los Angeles, CA
#3 Chicago, IL
#4 Philadelphia, PA
#5 San Francisco, CA
#6 Boston, MA
#7 Washington, DC
#8 Dallas-Ft.Worth, TX
#9 Detroit, MI
#10 Atlanta, GA
#11 Houston, TX
#12 Seattle, WA
#13 Cleveland, OH
#14 Minneapolis-St.Paul, MN
#15 Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL
#16 Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, FL
#17 Phoenix, AZ
#18 Denver, CO
#19 Pittsburgh, PA
#20 St.Louis, MO
Special Radio Food Programs:
21st Century Nutrition’- WEDO-McKeesport, PA
Eat Right Las Vegas’ – KORK- Las Vegas, NV
Food for thought’ – WCCO- Minneapolis, MN
Great Recipies with Lynn Paska’ – WHRL – Albany, NY
Your Health’ – USA Radio Network – Dallas, TX
47 Family Magazine – KWHB – Tulsa, OK
American Family – NET network – Washington, DC
CTN Today – WCLF – Clearwater, FL
Today’s Family – KTVT – Ft.Worth, TX
Today’s Family – WTGL – Orlando, FL
Getting Healthy – TV Food Network – New York, NY
Healthy Alternatives – Cablevision of Framingham Inc., Framingham, MA
Healthy Living – Fit TV – Virgina Beach, VA
In Food Today – TV Food network, New York, NY
A Healthy Perspective – Marcus Cable – Sheboygan, WI
Call the Doctor – WFMZ – Allentown, PA
Changing Habits with Caryl Ehrlich – Time Warner Cable of New York City-New York, NY
Fox for Health – FNC-New York, NY
For your Health – WTCI – Chattanooga, TN
Get the Facts – Cabel TV of Kennebunk- Kennebunk, ME
Getting Healthy – TV Food Network – New York, NY
Health Beat – WTVE – Reading, PA
Health Call – WLAE – New Orleans, LA
Health Matters – Mestar Communication – Allentown, PA
Health Today – WMGM – Concord, NJ
Healthy Living – Fit TV – Virgina Beach, VA
Healthy TV – Healthy Television Production – New York, NY
Mogelonsky, Marcia: “Eggs get Rehabilitated”
American Demographics, pg. 30, August 1997
O’Neill, Molly: “After the Fall: Humpty Dumpty Regains His Throne”
The New York Times, pg. F1, September 24, 1997
Kolata, Gina: “Scientists Ease Up On Fear of Eggs”
The New York Times, pg. F3, September 24, 1997
The Lifestyle Market Analyst 1997 Chicago: 5RDS/Polk Co., 1997
Bacon’s 1997 Media Directories Chicago: Bacon’s Information Inc., 1997
Additional Sources of Infromation
* In-person interviews were conducted with members of the target audience