Big Slurp

By Hannah Wallace September 30, 2007

What do jeans, athletic shoes and bottled water have in common? They each represent consumer product categories that have experienced geometric growth over the past several decades. But what’s especially remarkable is that before they exploded in the marketplace, all three existed in one form or another. Also, each of those market explosions was the result of brilliant marketing efforts combining the power of public relations, promotion and advertising.

We may be about to witness the next big nontech consumer product bang. One specific marketing effort to make that happen is being launched from Sarasota. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has been consumed for centuries. While professional and amateur chefs have increasingly been using it in recipes, and we’ve learned to savor its flavor by dipping bread into a small dish of the golden nectar, its mass consumption has been relatively limited to dressing salads.

But, if Roger Ley and his colleagues at OLLO Extra Virgin Olive Oil have their way, we’ll be using his EVOO in all gastronomical pursuits, “from drizzling it over garden-ripe tomatoes, warm fish or seafood and freshly steamed vegetables to using it as a stand-alone salad dressing, a marinade base, the ideal bruschetta ingredient [or] instead of butter or vegetable oil when sautéing or baking.”

OLLO, part of the Australia-based Mitolo Group, has its U.S. headquarters in Sarasota. With distribution in place at Publix and Winn Dixie, OLLO is launching its marketing campaign right here. It began in July with a media event and sumptuous tasting at Sean Murphy’s Beach Bistro, one of the truly outstanding restaurants anywhere. Sean led us through an inspired multi-course sampling. It began with a slurp, a tasting similar to how we sample wine, to savor OLLO’s nuanced aromas and flavors. What followed was a culinary parade of sublime cocktails and dishes, all uniquely prepared with measures of OLLO. As intended, the EVOO use possibilities became readily apparent. That is the thrust of a campaign that will follow the distribution trail—Miami, Cleveland, Atlanta, etc. CAP Creative, the Sarasota marketing communications firm headed by Sam Stern and his wife, Roxanne Joffe, is the strategic and creative force behind this extensive marketing effort intended to expand our perception of EVOO, increase consumption of the product category and concurrently grow OLLO’s market share.

Campbell expanded a category with casserole recipes for its cream of mushroom soup and the Pork Council dramatically changed our perception of the other white meat. So maybe soon we’ll be passing the OLLO at breakfast, lunch, dinner…and with popcorn.

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