Twenty-five years after establishing one of the nation's most iconic food brands, America's beef farmers and ranchers are leveraging the strong equity of the "Beef. It's What's For Dinner." tagline to reintroduce the brand to a new generation of consumers. The relaunch will blend the strongest assets from the longtime brand – such as the famous Aaron Copland "Rodeo" music and the well-known tagline – and couple those with new creative assets. In total, the effort showcases the pleasure beef brings to meals, the people who raise it and the nutritional benefits (such as protein) beef provides.
"Consumers love beef, and as with all foods, today's consumers want the whole story about the beef they buy." said Alisa Harrison, senior vice president of global marketing and research for the National Cattlemen's Beef Assn. (NCBA), a contractor to the beef checkoff, which funds the campaign. "Our research shows that the Beef. It's What's For Dinner. brand is still extremely popular among consumers, including Millennials. So, in honor of its 25th anniversary, we have refreshed the brand and updated our resources to make beef information available to consumers where they want it, when they want it and how they want it."
The overall effort was designed with Millennial media preferences in mind. The campaign launches Oct. 9 with digital advertising and a new digital platform at www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com -- a single, comprehensive location that provides an interactive experience on all things beef, from cuts and cookery to a robust collection of beef recipes to an inside look at the lives of the people who raise beef.
"Beef is one of the most popular foods among consumers, whether it's your favorite steak or burger, but it can also be one of the most confounding, with questions ranging from the right cut to the right way to cook it to where it came from," Harrison said. "That's why we wanted to make beef easier to enjoy. We're setting out to answer the biggest questions that consumers have about beef, all in one place."
To launch the campaign, NCBA has produced an "anthem" video that features a new twist on the familiar children's song, "Old McDonald Had a Farm," to celebrate the American tradition of ranching while shedding light on what's new about raising food today. This summer, the Beef. It's What's For Dinner team traveled more than 3,800 miles from coast to coast to capture video, images and stories about the real people who raise beef. The new series of videos and content will feature only real farmers and ranchers from across the country. While cattle and beef are raised differently in California versus Florida or Iowa compared to Washington, the passion and commitment to care for the animals and land is the same.
Harrison explained that consumers will learn, through the video series, about each step of the beef production process, from farms and ranches to feedlots to processing and from retail and to the consumer.
"Today's farmers and ranchers blend time-honored traditions with cutting-edge innovations to raise beef, from drones and GPS tracking on the range to apps and other electronic tools that ensure precise and nutrient-filled rations in the feed bunk," she said.
Later in the year, new advertisements that celebrate beef's unique qualities as a protein source will launch to appeal to consumers' genuine love for beef, along with virtual tools such as 360-degree videos that show how beef goes from pasture to plate.
This all comes at a great time to enjoy beef, according to the recently completed, beef checkoff-funded National Beef Quality Audit, which showed that a higher percentage of beef is grading Prime and Choice – the two highest grades the U.S. Department of Agriculture assigns – than it has in more than 35 years. Steak tenderness has achieved its best tenderness scores since testing began in 1990, according to results from the "National Beef Tenderness Study."
To launch the campaign, NCBA is working with VML, its new digital advertising agency of record. VML created the new digital platform, BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.
"Digital is a powerful medium that turns marketing on its head because of the power given to the consumer. Instead of telling people what to think, digital platforms – whether it's BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com or the Beef. It's What's For Dinner. Facebook page or Instagram feed – allow people to discover beef the way they want to," VML executive vice president Eric Baumgartner said.