After reading Jim Romahn’s article in the April 5, 2011 Ontario Farmer, I was pleased to learn about the award won for the public relation/marketing campaign that was the brainchild of Janet Hueglen Hartwick and her team. But the question that came to my mind was “Did it sell more eggs?” It’s wonderful that there are creative, experienced people working for EFO but there still needs to be accountability. In this instance there needs to be some kind of measurement of success, some type of cost/benefit analysis. Granted it’s difficult to measure the value of educating the consumer, but ultimately the business question that must be determined is did the campaign cause the consumer to eat more eggs? To make that determination, egg producers would have had to know how much the campaign cost. Based on previous annual meeting documentation availability, that number would definitely not have been provided by EFO staff. But at the same time, egg producers probably didn’t ask either, but a campaign like that prize-winner, certainly isn’t cheap. Again another example that EFO staff and Board can spend egg producer’s money in whatever manner they see fit. It’s not hard to spend that $70 million (revenue line from 2010 AGM financial statement) if no one questions spending decisions and/or asks for accountability.
Egg producers should be asking this: “Was there a better way to spend the money spent on the campaign (whatever that amount may be)?” Since one (and I mean me or anyone outside the EFO power group) doesn’t know what the cost is, maybe a wiser use of that money could have been to reduce the price of eggs to retailers and ensure that the retailers pass that reduction onto the consumer? Maybe sponsoring a huge Easter egg hunt in several cities? How many hunts could have been organized? Who knows – unless it is known what has been spent. A million dollars colours a heck of a lot of Easter eggs! Many potential uses for the money could be suggested here, but the big question remains – did the prize-winning campaign sell more eggs? My guess is that no one even determined that answer. And not to beat a dead horse but ….. if someone did determine the answer, it won’t be recorded anywhere – at least for producers to read. Unless of course the EFO power group wants them to know. It’s time for egg producers to get their heads out of the Easter egg basket and ask the EFO for an analysis of the benefits of their current and future marketing campaigns. And when the projected benefits aren’t met, hold someone accountable. And next time I hope Jim Romahn asks that question about measuring the success of the campaign.