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California Grown Expands Beyond State Lines


California Grown Expands Beyond State Lines

Originally appeared in Adweek AgencySpy on July 13, 2021
Author: Larissa Faw

California Grown is moving outside of the Golden State as the organization seeks to encourage neighboring states to purchase California fruits, nuts and vegetables. The advocacy group—under the California Department of Food and Agriculture—is supported by the state and federal governments as well as by hundreds of growers and Californians.


The “Grown to be Great” campaign, developed with Mering, a company of The Shipyard, initially only ran in CA but this new round is expanding to Arizona, Nevada, Washington and Oregon.


“We’re excited to debut this new chapter and bring to life the diversity of specialty crops in California while encouraging consumers to always make the choice to buy California-grown,” Cherie Watte Angulo, executive director of California Grown said in a statement.


The creative also features a new direction for the group as it leans into a more comedic tone for three California commodities: leafy greens, avocados and olive oil.


“Creatively it’s a big departure, as the work previously was more of a documentary style, showcasing the passion of the local CA farmers, as well as their relationships to chefs and others who their ingredients inspire,” Kerry Krasts, executive creative director, Mering told Adweek.


Each vignette celebrates the joy and quirky obsessions of those who eat and cook with the these ingredients, and to underscore the humor, all are directed by comedy director Mike Bernstein best-known for his Saturday Night Live skits. “Visually, we knew this work (and our commodities) needed to stand out,” Krasts said. “So, we embraced our California-ness and all things bold when choosing our campaign colors, typographic treatments, and casting.”



The media campaign is designed to target “joyful cooks,” or more specifically the end users, who typically prefer to buy and consume local and organic ingredients as well as considers cooking to be fun.


These cooks are avid mobile and digital users, so the multi-layered digital campaign includes social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest), video partners (YouTube, SpotX) and content partners (GDN, AdTheorent, Dot Dash).


There is also an influencer marketing component to the campaign as the agency is working with nano influencers who are developing recipes and will be showcased in the creative campaign on social platforms. The agency prefers to work with these content creators with a social media platform following below 10,000 because their smaller size means audiences tend to be more active & loyal. In general, nano influencers can be more effective and more relatable than macro creators as they are focused on niche topics that resonate with specific audiences.


Mering has worked with the group for over 10 years, though not consecutively, after taking a break between 2007-2015.