Deoleo Plans 'Biggest Ever' Promotional Campaign

The world's largest olive oil company says it will launch the largest promotional campaign in its history to draw consumers to its flagship brands and use more olive oil in general.

May. 16, 2017
By Olive Oil Times Staff

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Deoleo, the bot­tler of the world’s lead­ing olive oil brands, has under­gone a string of trans­for­ma­tions in recent years to repo­si­tion itself in a rapidly chang­ing global olive oil mar­ket.

Yes, there’s been some neg­a­tive press out there. We feel that the only way that the olive oil indus­try can improve and con­tinue to thrive is in the con­text of qual­ity.- Fernando Herrera, Deoleo

While the finan­cial cri­sis in Europe led to slump­ing con­sump­tion in tra­di­tional strong­holds, retail­ers have been build­ing up their own pri­vate labels at the expense of Deoleo’s flag­ship Bertolli, Carapelli and Carbonell brands. A relent­less stream of media reports and legal chal­lenges over the qual­ity and label­ing prac­tices of the biggest olive oil pro­duc­ers, and even tax reforms in Spain have taken a heavy toll on the com­pany, which posted a loss of €179 mil­lion in 2016.

After years of bruis­ing set­backs, the com­pany closed plants, reduced its work­force by 18 per­cent, increased prices and focused on its most prof­itable brands. It imple­mented a strat­egy of pur­chas­ing olive oil directly from pro­duc­ers and improv­ing the uti­liza­tion of its fac­to­ries. And, it set its sights on the prof­itable North American mar­ket.

Last year, when Pierluigi Rosato replaced Manuel Arroyo as CEO of the Madrid-based multi­na­tional, he swiftly removed Armando Islas, the com­pa­ny’s sup­ply chain offi­cer and assumed the role of sourc­ing him­self. And the ethos Rosato has laid down for the 62-year-old com­pany is built on a renewed com­mit­ment to qual­ity and adding value.

We’ve had this shift here at Deoleo,” said the com­pa­ny’s vice pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing, Fernando Hererra. Pierluigi has an extreme edict that goes all the way through­out the entire orga­ni­za­tion that is com­mit­ted to high qual­ity,” Hererra told Olive Oil Times pub­lisher Curtis Cord in an inter­view this week for the On Olive Oil’ pod­cast.


Three of the com­pa­ny’s lim­ited-edi­tion oils were awarded recently at the New York International Olive Oil Competition. And while the small-batch spe­cial blends won’t reach the mil­lions of con­sumers its core prod­ucts do, Cord won­dered if the mere fact that Deoleo proved it was capa­ble of pro­duc­ing award-win­ning extra vir­gin olive oil was yet another sign of the sea change” he described when more pro­duc­ers than ever were rec­og­nized for qual­ity at the New York event.

Pierluigi has taken it upon him­self to pro­cure all of the olive oils. His approach is to meet with the grow­ers, under­stand the grow­ers and then cre­ate the rela­tion­ships. Not only are we talk­ing to the grow­ers but we’re also talk­ing to what we call the know­ers.’ Pierluigi is mak­ing all of these, he’s per­son­ally mak­ing these deci­sions since he’s come to the helm of Deoleo,” Herrera said.

Now, the com­pany is on the verge of launch­ing the largest pro­mo­tional cam­paign in its his­tory in a bid to woo con­sumers to its brands, and to use more olive oil in gen­eral, Herrera said. This will be the biggest invest­ment that Deoleo has ever made in con­sumer out­reach,” he con­firmed, though the com­pany later declined to dis­close the amount of the invest­ment. How can we live beyond the salad, how can we live beyond the lit­tle drips — how do we move it to a pour?”

The cam­paign is slated to launch later this year in the U.S. with the slo­gan, the recipe is sim­ple.”

There’s no point in tak­ing the cat­e­gory down. What we need to do and we take very seri­ously is our respon­si­bil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate to con­sumers the ben­e­fits of olive oil and all the rea­sons you can use it beyond the salad.”

Of course, the big ques­tion is how the com­pany will carry its new ethos through to its core prod­ucts and ensure that con­sumers who pay more for a bot­tle labeled extra vir­gin’ get what they deserve every time — some­thing the largest olive oil com­pa­nies have been famously unpre­dictable at doing.

Yes, there’s been some neg­a­tive press out there,” Herrera con­ceded. We feel that the only way that the olive oil indus­try can improve and con­tinue to thrive is in the con­text of qual­ity. If we have good qual­ity for the con­sumer, it actu­ally has this kind of great domino effect. For us, it’s some­thing that we’re not walk­ing away from. It’s now actu­ally part of our daily rou­tine.”

Listen to the com­plete inter­view here.

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