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

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

Jul. 12, 2011
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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