Today's Lead Story:
Lee & Associates:
The State of the Art of Promotion
The art of communication is ever changing in the world of produce
For half a century, the Los Angeles-based marketing and public relations
firm, Lee & Associates, has creatively promoted a varied array of
fresh produce, from asparagus to papaya to potatoes to tomatoes (and
just about everything else in between) to the press and consumers. When
it comes to the art of promotion, nothing is more important than communication,
and in the 50 years since he founded the company, Leo Pearlstein has
seen his share of changes in the communicative tools of the trade.
Pearlstein and his two sons, Frank and Howard, say that now is a very
important transitional communication period, especially when it comes
to the media. According to Frank, "Each person we deal with in the media
has a different set of preferences. Some might want the information sent
by fax, another via phone, one by snail mail and someone else will demand
it by email. We have to adapt to find out how each individual media representative
wants to receive his or her information."
Another change in media preference is the length of the stories which
are reported. Leo remembered, "Years ago, a news segment on one story
might last up to ten minutes. Today the pressure of time is squeezed
and squeezed further. Stories are condensed into seconds."
He also said that the sensational news stories seem to predominate
a newscast, and trying to get news of agriculture might be put on the
backburner because, to the newspeople, "it might not seem as exciting." That
translates into hard work to get their clients' message to the public,
which takes both creativity and a knowledge of the audience they are
working with. Fortunately, 50 years of hard work gives you a lot
of knowledge to lean on.
Leo said that he likes to stress the positive health benefits of produce.
"We can really take advantage of the good news associated with the consumption
of fresh produce such as the health benefits for the consumer. Those
health benefits are a great message to work with, and at the same time
we can also remind people about 5 A Day, the Cancer Institute, the Heart
Association and other beneficial aspects of the product."
Being truthful about the current crop is also important when dealing
with the press. Leo said, "Our attitude on produce is to let people know
when the product is available, whether the crop is big, small, good or
bad, and what is the best way to use it."
The Internet has become a useful tool for the Pearlsteins, and Frank
said the advent of a new division of the company focusing on Internet
marketing will further strengthen that aspect of their business. "It's
called MarketingBlend," Frank said. The story behind the name results
from the fact that "when it comes to promotion, you still need to blend
traditional, 'offline' marketing (radio, television, magazines, etc.)
with newer Internet marketing."
Leo added, "Today the traditional media is more important than ever.
How do these dotcom companies spread the word about their sites? By TV,
radio, newspapers and magazines; that's how." He pointed to the proliferation
of radio ad spot frequency for dotcom companies and the blitz of dotcom
ads during the Super Bowl earlier in the year.
According to Frank, "We use the same method to draw attention to a
website as we do to draw attention to a product we are promoting. It
is a blend of new media with old. We still need both."
Among the many firms Lee and Associates represents in various fields
are produce-related companies like The Oregon Potato Commission, Ready
Pac Produce, Marie Callender's Croutons and Mrs. Cubbisons Croutons and
Whether it be by its website, phone, fax, mail or email, after 50 years,
Lee & Associates, with their strong niche in food and consumer products,
are still creatively promoting and delivering the goods.