Phase 2 Of US Beef 'Trust' Campaign Launched

US - The second phase of the successful “Trust” imaging campaign for US beef in South Korea was launched by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) this week with television advertisements, trade magazine ads and mass transit signage.
calendar icon 3 December 2010
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The campaign is supported by the Beef, Corn and Soybean Checkoff Programs and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP). The campaign contains an element that would have been impossible until recently. The owner of a Korean-style barbecue restaurant chain became the first restaurant owner to publicly endorse US beef. The sign on Yoon-Geun Lee’s restaurant reads: “US beef restaurant Chamtowoo.”

“This is a huge step for US beef and a significant sign that consumer confidence in our product is returning,” said Jihae Yang, USMEF-Korea director. “Yoon-Geun Lee was very confident of the taste of US beef as well as its quality and price competitiveness when he opened a restaurant in late 2008 that focused on US beef.”

A year later, Mr Lee closed the side of his restaurant business that served domestic (Hanwoo) beef and focused on US beef, opening five more locations that only serve American product.

“Mr Lee is willing to share his experience and confidence in US beef,” said Mr Yang. “This is unique because many owners of small restaurants are much too sensitive and concerned about the response of their patrons and will not aggressively publicise their use of US beef.” The ad featuring Mr Lee’s Chamtowoo restaurant will run in four prominent Korean restaurant trade magazines, which will reach the segment of the industry that utilises an estimated 65 per cent of the US beef imported into Korea.

The second phase of the Trust campaign also includes commercials that will run on four cable TV channels that target Korean homemakers, who make the majority of grocery purchase decisions for families. The ads show a happy Korean mother preparing and serving a meal of mouthwatering US beef for her delighted family.

The TV ad also will run on a 24-hour news channel that is shown on a large number of giant-screen televisions located in public areas throughout Seoul.

The campaign also includes advertisements at the busiest subway stations in Seoul. The ads emphasize two areas that USMEF focus groups identified as areas of concern for Korean consumers: grazing cattle and wholesome grain-feeding. The ads are designed to counter the “factory farming” image that many Koreans have of US agriculture. “Based on our focus groups and interviews with Korean consumers, we determined that the time is right to take our Trust campaign to the next level,” said Mr Yang. “We want to demonstrate that not only do mothers have the confidence to serve US beef to their families, but that respected restaurant owners are proud to advertise the fact that they serve only US beef.”

The rebound in consumer confidence in US beef is confirmed by export statistics. Through the first nine months of 2010, total US beef (muscle cuts plus variety meat) exports to South Korea are up 136 per cent in volume and 181 per cent in value over the same period of 2009, reaching 81,866 metric tons (180.5 million pounds) valued at $383.8 million.

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