`Barjol Calls for "Synergy" in New Olive Oil Promo Campaign

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Barjol Calls for "Synergy" in New Olive Oil Promo Campaign

Jul. 12, 2011
By Curtis Cord

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Call­ing the devel­op­ment of the Amer­i­can mar­ket a top pri­or­ity” for the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil, Direc­tor Jean-Louis Bar­jol was in Wash­ing­ton Mon­day for the NASFT Fancy Food Show and to kick off a new $1.7 mil­lion pro­mo­tion cam­paign under the slo­gan Add Some Life.”

After a ten-year absence the inter­gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion is back at work in the world’s biggest mar­ket, where even an incre­men­tal uptick in Amer­i­cans’ mea­ger per capita con­sump­tion would amount to a boon for olive oil pro­duc­ers every­where.

It won’t be an easy task. Amer­i­can con­sumers are con­fused by mixed mar­ket­ing mes­sages and reports crit­i­cal of the qual­ity of olive oils found on some super­mar­ket shelves.

The cam­paign’s launch sig­nals the start of an ini­tia­tive that could extend beyond its ini­tial 18-month term, the direc­tor stated.

When asked about the small bud­get, around $100,000 per month through 2012, Bar­jol stressed that the suc­cess of the cam­paign would depend on syn­ergy.”

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I am here to tell (pro­duc­ers and mar­keters) of olive oil and table olives hey guys, we are going to launch a cam­paign. It’s up to you to make it more vis­i­ble, up to you to add events with your own money around this event,’ ” he said.

Bar­jol said ear­lier that he hoped to soon wel­come the United States and Aus­tralia into the coun­cil as mem­bers, as he recently wel­comed Argentina. Dur­ing this visit, his sec­ond to the U.S. since his term began in Jan­u­ary, Bar­jol met with Patri­cia Dar­ragh from the Cal­i­for­nia Olive Oil Coun­cil, an exec­u­tive from Cal­i­for­nia Olive Ranch, and high-rank­ing peo­ple from the USDA and FDA to have a debate on that,” he said.

Bar­jol added that the deci­sion whether or not to join the IOC was a gov­ern­ment issue” that involves pro­duc­ers and, more impor­tantly he said, con­sumers of olive oil. With U.S. domes­tic pro­duc­tion of olive oil amount­ing to just 6,000 tons and con­sump­tion of 260,000 tons, he said, the U.S. gov­ern­ment agen­cies will do what is in the best inter­est of con­sumers first and fore­most. Bar­jol believes that would mean a deci­sion to join the ranks of IOC mem­ber coun­tries which together pro­duce 98 per­cent of the world’s olive oil. As reg­u­la­tory agen­cies, the FDA, USDA and IOC speak the same lan­guage,” he noted.

Mean­while, the Ital­ian Trade Com­mis­sion, which boasted by far the biggest clus­ter of booths at the huge spe­cialty food trade fair being held here, orga­nized an olive oil tast­ing to high­light some of what speak­ers called the unequaled vari­ety of Italy’s 350 cul­ti­vars.

Yet it was­n’t the native Lec­cino or Fran­toio vari­eties in the spot­light in the Colavita booth. Instead, the big Ital­ian brand was show­ing cus­tomers its newest selec­tions of olive oils from Cal­i­for­nia and Aus­tralia.

Sens­ing a vis­i­tor’s sur­prise by the idea of ship­ping Cal­i­for­nia olive oil in bulk to Colav­i­ta’s bot­tling facil­ity near Rome, only to be returned per­haps to super­mar­kets in Cal­i­for­nia, a com­pany spokesper­son noted Colav­i­ta’s mar­ket pres­ence in 80 coun­tries as if to say, what’s mov­ing a lit­tle more olive oil here or there?”

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