Archive for the 'Marketing campaign' Category


Ads showcase MSQ Seal

Look out for ads promoting the MSQ Seal


To ensure our program and Seal of Excellence receive wide exposure with receivers, we are launching a trade ad campaign in select major U.S. print and on-line publications such as The Packer, Produce News, Produce Business, Perishable News, and “e-zines” (online magazines) like Fresh Plaza, etc.    

At left is the first ad in the planned print campaign.  These ads represent the new effort for all our agencies to showcase the same “look” and copy to ensure image consistency worldwide.  

 All total, these publications — many now in both print and on-line versions —  reach thousands of decision-makers at distributor companies, retail and foodservice chains around the globe.  Ideally, these ads will accompany publicity features about MSQ for maximum impact.   

The goal is also to have these ads run when we are visiting with major chains.  They serve to reinforce the message that MSQ-certified products are beneficial to their business.  As one supermarket chain executive told us:   

“We’re all looking for a point of difference in a very competitive environment.   A Seal of quality certainly reinforces the fact that we go one step further to deliver the best to our customers.”  

We have also  received quite a bit of publicity since the year started.  We’ve counted at least six positive feature stories outlining MSQ activities and personnel in the above-listed publications.  Be sure to look out for more of these…  

MSQ is also planning consumer-directed TV ads to be placed in targeted stations and markets, and will tell you more about this  program soon.  

ALSO OF NOTE:  We’ve posted the complete MSQ Program PowerPoint presentation on the Program Review page.  Please click on that page, above, and download this informative document for your files (link is on bottom of page.)  


First meeting of Ambassadors

Ambassadors (l) John Pandol, Brian LaForest, Gale Prince, Martin Ley, with counsel "Kip" Martin, meet in Nogales

The first meeting of our newly-formed group of U.S.-based MCS Ambassadors took place on a relevant historical day.  It was the same day Mexico President Calderon was visiting the White House… 

Our small group, however, did not include diplomats or politicians.  Rather, it consisted of produce industry experts committed to helping us communicate the MSQ message:  our own Ambassadors  (Read more about them on our April 1 post, below).  This group may be small in size, but certainly not in thinking! 

In a three-hour session held at the beautiful headquarters of Del Campo (Ley Group) in Nogales,  AZ, Gale Prince (former food safety director at The Kroger Cos., Martin Ley (Del Campo), John Pandol (Pandol Bros.), and Brian LaForest (Superior), exchanged ideas and engaged in lively discussion.    Ambassador Enrique Diaz (Diazteca) unfortunately could not join us due to pressing business. 

Also present was Robert (Kip) Martin, an attorney with focus on agricultural law.  His clients include several of the more than 100 produce importers/distributors on the Nogales border.  Mr. Martin’s insight and guidance on what an advisory board can or cannot do under U.S. antitrust laws was invaluable, as well as his ability to keep the group on-point during discussions. 

Discussions ranged from the status of the pending  U.S. food safety legislation to the challenges of communicating the superior Mexico food safety standards to the North American marketplace…and much in between.   Specific program recommendations are being drafted now for submission to MSQ staff for review. 

As our gracious host, Ambassador Ley, put it:  “Mexico has arguably the most stringent food safety guidelines in the world.  Problem is, few know this.  By being involved in work groups such as this, we can share this information to the ultimate benefit of the consumer.” 

It is exactly the willingness of this group to help with this outreach — to influence others into understanding the program and its benefits —  that is of so much value to us.   These industry leaders are very busy running their companies, so their time is valuable.  

We thank each and every one for their dedication to MSQ/MCS! 

(Important note:  The MCS Ambassadors are planning to meet again in late summer.  Please let us know if you have any issue of specific interest to your operations you wish them to discuss and advise on. ) 


Retailers promote Seal of Excellence

The key activity of our program this season has been to gain MSQ program understanding and acceptance by North American retail chains.  To that end, both our Mexico City and U.S.-based marketing teams have met with these chains and delivered compelling slide and video presentations detailing our program.

Actually, we have been doing this for a couple of seasons but now are seeing  concrete and measurable results as retailers increase their Mexico produce sourcing and become more familiar with our program and Seal.  Importantly, we are now able to convince these chains to communicate to their customers the quality and safety of their imports using advertising and promotion vehicles.

The high quality of produce out of Mexico these days has been a great persuader.  As one of our Masters of MCS program recipients (see 4/20 post),  produce director Steve Wright (Spartan Foods, MI, 400+ stores)  recently noted:

“Michigan is a big agricultural state so I get to see a lot of fields and packing houses to compare, but I continue to be impressed by the dedication made to food safety, sanitation, and technology in Mexico.”

Spartan’s customers look for value, and Mexico produce this season has delivered that in addition to the quality.  Wright said he is also pleased to see specific grower groups such as the Sonora Grape Association (AALPUM), where every member is MSQ-certified.  “It makes it easier for us to promote the crop and industry in question.”  That is why he is currently running grape ads featuring the Seal.

Another chain of similar thinking in our target market of the Midwest (where we have the greatest opportunity for growth) is on the upper end of the demographic scale,  Hollywood Markets, of Detroit (17 stores).   Pictured above is the beautiful grape ad they ran featuring our Seal…need we say more?

On the other side of the country are major wholesalers like Charlie’s Produce, also a 2010 Master of MCS recipient, servicing over 600 stores throughout the Northwest and into Alaska.  They opted to post the Seal on their web site with verbiage briefly explaining the program, plus a link to this blog and our main website.

With over 1.3 million hits on their site during this period (April-May) the impact of such an effort adds up.  This innovative group also e-mailed memos and even promoted the Seal via their “on hold” message on their phones!

As you can see, there are myriad ways to spread the message about MSQ, and we are very pleased and appreciative to see how chains are taking the lead in devising new and creative ways to inform their customers about us. 

With over 30,000 supermarkets across the U.S. alone, a goal of having our program accepted by all chains represented by these stores is indeed ambitious and will take time, but thanks to our savvy retail partners, we are slowly gaining ground!


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