Martha and Betsy = Food Marketing Brilliance

Articles
July 02, 2009

Have you seen the Imposters on the small screen? And we are not talking about a repeat of the 1998 movie starring Oliver Platt and Stanley Tucci. We are talking about two chickens who may well be on their way to superstardom. For those who live on the West Coast, they are pretty hard to miss; Martha and Betsy are the junk food eating, freezer burned "plumped" Foster Imposter chickens making TV, internet and public appearances. Currently on their Foster Farms' Say No to Plumping "West Coast tour," with the aim of increasing awareness around the common and half a century old poultry manufacturing practice of enhancing or pumping "natural" chicken with salt water, the Imposters are drawing crowds of up to 4,000 fans- who, might I add, wait patiently in line for the rare photo opportunity! The Imposters' popularity has received "celebrity status" and may well be on their way to become the left coast's most recognized advertising characters since the "California Raisins™." The brilliance and success of these goofy characters has significantly increased awareness around, as Foster Farms has coined it, "plumping", and has also led to the development of Foster Farm's "Say No to Plumping" website. The website features these two new amusing characters, Martha, the vain chicken-interested in getting plumped and Betsy, the level headed chicken with all of the facts. The website uses the combination of important public health messages and humor to relate health information, resulting in a very entertaining "user friendly" experience. Foster's marketing brilliance was created out of necessity. The Imposters have been causing media stir in California, Washington, and Oregon since '93, gaining more and more popularity in the past few years- prompting important consumer questions that required serious answers. Who knew the most effective, clear and powerful messages about our food and health would come from two talking chickens.

Have you seen the Imposters on the small screen? And we are not talking about a repeat of the 1998 movie starring Oliver Platt and Stanley Tucci. We are talking about two chickens who may well be on their way to superstardom. For those who live on the West Coast, they are pretty hard to miss; Martha and Betsy are the junk food eating, freezer burned "plumped" Foster Imposter chickens making TV, internet and public appearances.

Currently on their Foster Farms' Say No to Plumping "West Coast tour," with the aim of increasing awareness around the common and half a century old poultry manufacturing practice of enhancing or pumping "natural" chicken with salt water, the Imposters are drawing crowds of up to 4,000 fans- who, might I add, wait patiently in line for the rare photo opportunity!  The Imposters' popularity has received "celebrity status" and may well be on their way to become the left coast's most recognized advertising characters since the "California Raisins™."

The brilliance and success of these goofy characters has significantly increased awareness around, as Foster Farms has coined it, "plumping", and has also led to the development of Foster Farm's "Say No to Plumping" website.  The website features these two new amusing characters, Martha, the vain chicken-interested in getting plumped and Betsy, the level headed chicken with all of the facts.

The website uses the combination of important public health messages and humor to relate health information, resulting in a very entertaining "user friendly" experience.  Foster's marketing brilliance was created out of necessity.  The Imposters have been causing media stir in California, Washington, and Oregon since '93, gaining more and more popularity in the past few years- prompting important consumer questions that required serious answers.  Who knew the most effective, clear and powerful messages about our food and health would come from two talking chickens.

Ira Brill, Director of Marketing and Advertising, explains that, "with the media focus on the negative impacts of salt on health in recent years, and increased consumer interest and awareness, it made sense to clarify these issues as well as fight towards changing the FDA's 'natural' labeling laws."  Fresh chicken can be enhanced/pumped with up to 15% added salt water by weight and still be considered 'natural' by FDA definition.

Clearly deceiving in terms of increased weight, therefore price, and sodium content; the fine print on packaging is easily missed, resulting in a not so healthy or friendly choice.  Consumers choose chicken as a lean healthy option; this assumption does not always hold true as some enhanced birds can contain more sodium than a large order of fries!  And compared to the un-plumped chicken, the plumped version can contain up to 700% more sodium!

The "Say No to Plumping" marketing genius has already had an effect, according to Foster Farms "consumers are looking at packaging and taking the time to read labels." The chicken banter includes the discussion of health (and cost) implications of plumping, plumping facts and figures, how to read labels and detect a plumper, links to health resources and an interactive "Plumpinator" calculator to illustrate the estimated amount of money wasted on saltwater from plumped chicken each year. Based on a family of four, who eat chicken 3 times a week, the savings amounts to $77.92.

Check out the website http://www.saynotoplumping.com/ and experience how Foster Farms effectively relates important consumer health and shopping information in a very accessible, entertaining and easy to understand way.