Pasta association rolls out digital marketing campaign

by Eric Schroeder
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PALM BEACH, FLA. — The National Pasta Association, through its collaboration with Kellen Communications, is in the midst of a multi-tiered marketing communications campaign focused primarily on digital and social media marketing to increase excitement about pasta. The campaign includes the relaunch of the www.pastafits.org web site, as well as more focus on growing Pasta Fits’ presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.

Joan Cear, vice-president of Kellen Communications, provided an update of the recently launched Pasta Fits campaign at the N.P.A. annual meeting held April 8-10 at the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach in Palm Beach.

“Social media has a great benefit beyond just the fact that there are huge numbers out there, but the fact you can target it and measure it,” Ms. Cear said. “Our goal with Pasta Fits is to encourage consumers to feel good about enjoying pasta as part of their balanced, nutritious and delicious eating plan.”

Ms. Cear said the campaign is targeting 85% of U.S. households who prepare, eat and enjoy pasta. Objectives, she said, include leveraging the N.P.A.’s web sites and social media channels to help consumers feel good about eating pasta by providing information and resources that highlight the nutritional benefits of pasta, as well as increasing traffic to and participation within www.pastafits.org and the Pasta Fits social media channels through on-line promotion and outreach.

Ms. Cear said some of the key messages of the campaign will be to reinforce pasta’s “good-for-you” benefits, counter messaging about anti-carb/anti-wheat fad diets, encourage guilt-free enjoyment of pasta, and showcase recipes.

The N.P.A. earlier this month launched a revamped www.pastafits.org. Content enhancements include new, more searchable and shareable recipes, and new, themed and changing content, including a rotating pasta spotlight, a rotating recipe of the week and an expanded frequently-asked-question section.

With the changes, Ms. Cear said the N.P.A. hopes to raise overall time spent on the site by 1 minute and increase page views by 50%.

Even though the new site had not launched, since February, page views were up 32%, visit duration was up 7% and pages per visit were up 5%. March 2013 traffic was up 1,000% compared with March 2012, Ms. Cear added.

Other social media outlets the N.P.A. expects to use as part of its digital marketing campaign are Pinterest, Google AdWords, Pay-Per-Click Ads, Facebook and Twitter.

For its Pasta Fits Facebook campaign, Ms. Cear said the N.P.A.’s goals include securing a minimum of 1,500 to 2,000 new fans per month, as well as increasing traffic of web site visitors coming from Facebook by 100%. The Pasta Fits Facebook page, located at www.facebook.com/PastaFits, has more than 12,500 “likes,” or fans, and since the new campaign began has pulled in 2,834 new fans, good enough for 42% growth, Ms. Cear said.

Meanwhile, the Pasta Fits Twitter account (twitter.com/PastaFits) has about 750 followers and is averaging about 3 new followers per day and has about 26% of its tweets re-tweeted, she said.
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