KANSAS CITY, MO—A new $100 million "Beef—Come And Get It" ad campaign is reminding the American people of the existence of edible cow flesh.
The Kansas City-based American Beef Council launched the ambitious television and print campaign after discovering that U.S. citizens were no longer aware of the food item.
"Over the past few years, the American Beef Council let up on its promotional efforts, running very few beef ads," council president Richard Harnisch said. "And that lack of aggressiveness came home to roost: A recent focus-group test indicated that Americans had forgotten all about this delicious mealtime staple. When asked about beef or shown pictures of it, they seemed vague on the concept, often asking if it was some new, redder form of pork."
"Only after repeated explanations that beef is a separate, distinct meat that has always existed did test subjects begin to understand and remember," Harnisch said. "We soon realized that all Americans needed to have it explained to them that beef is a delicious meat that can be purchased and eaten."
Enlisting the aid of advertising agency McCann-Erickson, the American Beef Council developed a series of TV commercials depicting rugged cattle ranchers herding steer on a majestic Wyoming ranch as spirited Aaron Copland music plays. Veteran actor Jason Robards, speaking in voice-over, says, "There's a certain flavor to America, a hearty hunger for adventure and freedom that you can feel in the air. And taste in the beef."
Close-up shots of juicy steaks, hamburgers and beef shish-kebabs are then displayed, along with the campaign's slogan, "Beef—Come And Get It."
The ads already appear to be working.
"I'd completely forgotten about beef. I used to eat it all the time, well aware that it was what's for dinner," said Tracy Karasik of Pensacola, FL, enjoying a generous cut of London broil.
"But the manufacturers and vendors of beef must have gotten really lax in their advertising, because I don't think I've eaten or even thought about the meat in some three years. If it hadn't been for this new campaign, I might have died missing the great taste of beef."
The campaign is believed to be the most successful since a 1994 American Dairy Board promotional campaign for cheese. The ads, which revolved around the slogans, "Cheese—Still Exists, Always Has" and "Oh, Yeah... Cheese," reminded the American eating public of cheese's existence, causing sales of the dairy product to more than triple.