In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Effect Partners (we were called MusicMatters back then) developed a robust sampling program with the leading organic and natural brands. In the process of giving out millions of samples, we discovered consumers did not understand what “Organic” meant. Many thought “Natural” was better than “Organic.” Consumers needed to experience and taste these new brand’s products and learn the benefits of organic. So, we proposed to the Organic Trade Association a concept to increase national awareness and sales of organic products and brands. We had the idea to create a campaign that retailers, organic brands, environmental organizations and schools could get behind with a goal of increasing national awareness 3% and sales 10%. Go Organic! For Earth Day used the month of April to create a retailer promotion highlighting the environmental and health benefits of organic while profiling the leading organic brands. The thought was if all the brands throw in and work together, we could increase awareness and sales of the organic category. And, a rising tide lifts all boats.
We interviewed over three dozen leaders in these areas and talked to them about our concept and then, based on this, we created an “Organic Manifesto.” The Organic Manifesto committed the signers to work in unison to grow the organic movement. We were able to get all the leading organic brands to sign on, Earth Day Network, PTA, many retailers, and leading media outlets. From this, we created a multifaceted comprehensive campaign with the country’s leading retailers, Earth Day Network and schools across the country that included Go Organic! coupon books in major retailers, in-store demos and sampling, special pricing to retailers, endcaps for participating brands, local media hits, national press stories, school tie-ins, environmental organization support and participation, celeb chef’s participation, organic recipes, as well as Sunday paper FSI’s. (back when people still got the Sunday paper!)
The campaign was a huge success and ran from 2004 – 2010. We were able to get the campaign running with 40 retailers in 5,000 stores nationally including Whole Foods, Kroger, HEB, Ralph’s, Publix and many more. The campaign generated tens of millions of impressions each year for the concept of organic and for the leading organic brands. Participating brands included: Earthbound Farm, CLIF Bar, Silk, Organic Valley, Nature’s Path, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, Dr. Bronner’s, Horizon, Traditional Medicinal, Annies, and many more. We worked with NMI (Natural Marketing Institute) to track national awareness of organics as a result of the Go Organic! Campaign. Each year, the campaign increased organic awareness between 5% and 7% and sales of organic products increased by 25%. Effect Partners has been credited for helping the organic industry to become established in mainstream society and helping to grow these emerging brands into mainstream favorites.