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The Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC) has unveiled a new online media initiative designed to emphasize the culture of the Vidalia onion while advancing its “sweet” appeal with social media fans and younger audiences. Launching this month are a thoroughly overhauled Web site and an aggressive, interactive approach to social networking on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Also, there’s “Shrek-tacular” news for children: in conjunction with the VOC’s “Shrek Forever After, Vidalias Forever Sweet,” national marketing campaign, the promoter of the “original sweet onion” is introducing its first-ever dedicated kids’ Web pages.
“Our main goal with the design of the site was to better highlight the history and heritage of the Vidalia onion without compromising its place in the modern culinary world as an incomparable ingredient,” explained Wendy Brannen, executive director of the Vidalia, Ga.-based VOC. “We wanted the layout more recipe- and food image-heavy, and a design that’s more interactive for consumers, and more accessible for retailers and media.”
Brannen says her favorite part of the new site is the kids’ section, which right now ties to the VOC’s popular Shrek “Ogres & Onions” promotion but will feature permanently Yumion — Vidalia’s own loveable animated character — and age-relevant Vidalia trivia.
The homepage for Vidaliaonion.org includes information on the latest campaign, news and upcoming events. DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek character graces the homepage promoting the latest consumer and retail merchandising display contests: Consumers have the opportunity to play “Shrek’s Hunt & Peel” trivia game directly on the site for a chance to win the “Ultimate TV Video Gaming Package” consisting of a 50-inch HDTV, Wii Gaming System and “Shrek Forever After video game,” courtesy of Activision.
Retailers can submit photos of their own Shrek-inspired displays for the chance to win a trip for four to Universal Orlando’s Shrek 4-D attraction.
Among the changes to VidaliaOnion.org is an “About Us” section, which combines useful information for contacting current committee members, purchasing Vidalia onions and Vidalia products, learning about Federal Marketing Orders and the Vidalia growing region, and other history, with testimonials from celebrities, top chefs, heads of state and Vidalia onion growers. A newly renovated “Recipe” database includes a home page search option, allowing for immediate access to professionally developed recipes and photography. In the “Healthy Eating” section, consumers can learn about the surprising uses of onions throughout history, how to prepare Vidalia onions today and exactly why Georgia’s famous onions are so sweet. A “Farming” section focuses on growing practices and food safety.
Meanwhile, the “trade” section features brand statistics, downloadable retail promo materials, availability and storage, Chefs Advisory Board information, and specific examples of how Vidalias are used in popular menus. The “media” section also has press release archives and a dedicated media page for downloading high-resolution images.
The social media component is also a priority for VOC’s online media initiative, including Facebook, where consumers can become fans of Vidalia onions and can even become “friends” with the committee’s mascot, Yumion. On Twitter, followers can receive status updates from @VidaliaOnions1, while related YouTube initiatives also enable consumers to learn about Vidalias through chef cooking demos. All of these sites allow for direct communication from the VOC to its fan base through communication ranging from recipe ideas to yearly crop outlooks.
For more information, visit VidaliaOnion.org.