Fresh Express is taking its brand to the people in a big way for the first time.

Company officials on Nov. 30 announced the first broad-scale consumer marketing campaign for Salinas, Calif.-based Fresh Express, Salinas, Calif., which is owned by Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands International.

About the campaign
  • Uses broad and targeted delivery methods.
  • Features memorable commercial and high impact media buy.
  • Television campaign to run through the end of the year expected to create 300 million impressions in 40 major markets. 
  • Full page print advertising in leading lifestyle magazines.
  • Tagline for advertisers: “A Salad Experience So Uniquely Fresh, other Salads Wilt in its Presence.”
  • Print campaign, including spots in O, the Oprah Magazine and Weight Watchers magazine, targets professional women who value fresh taste, quality and convenience and are looking for new and unique varieties.

The campaign promotes the “Consistently, Deliciously Fresh” theme in high-profile television and print advertising to build national consumer awareness and drive profitable category growth, according to a news release.

“This is something that hasn’t been done before in the packaged salads category,” said Ed Lloyd, manager of investor relations and corporate communications for Chiquita.

The campaign features a television commercial and what the company called a high-impact media buy that will run through the end of the year.

The television campaign alone will create 300 million impressions, the company said.

In August, Fresh Express began testing the commercial in San Francisco, Baltimore and Jacksonville, Fla.

An evaluation of those commercials showed that the advertising in those test markets resulted in short-term sales growth between 4% and 9% while competitive brands lost share.

“That’s significant,” Lloyd said. “We’ve got a cost structure in the business where we can very profitably grow additional volume next year.”

Lloyd said the packaged salad category has grown from virtually nothing 20 years ago to $3 billion today, but none of that has been done with consumer marketing.

“This is the first time we have gone direct to the consumers to really talk about what are the attributes of the Fresh Express brand that delivers them a substantial value,” he said.

One of the key things the campaign is focusing on is freshness, he said.

“When you talk to consumers … it’s all about freshness up and down the produce aisle,” he said.

Lloyd said the campaign is part of the transformation Fresh Express is undergoing from a commodity-oriented business to one that is really focused on consumers.

“We think the category is still underdeveloped,” Lloyd said. The category was growing in double digits until the industry wide E. coli issue back in 2006, he said.

“Even though Fresh Express products were not involved in that, what we did see was an impact on the category as a whole and all the players in the category,” he said.

Fresh Express salad ads target consumers

Lloyd said strong growth hasn’t returned to the category since then.

Research shows that companies that make investments in consumer marketing during down economic periods can see those investments pay off.

“Those (companies) are poised to outperform others in terms of the amount of growth they can capture,” he said.

More than in recent years, consumers are increasing using lists before they go shopping for
food at supermarket, Lloyd said.  In 2009,  Information Resources Inc. showed that 64% of shoppers use a list they made at home.

“If we are going to have any opportunity to get on their lists, we have to be speaking to them before they get to the store,” he said.

Creating advertising impressions on consumers for the Fresh Express label should help position the label’s packaged salads with list-making shoppers, he said.