Washington Beef Commission eyes millennials, ranchers


By Don Jenkins, Capital Press

Nov 6, 2019


The Washington Beef Commission's new marketing plan has two audiences in mind: young adults in Seattle and Tacoma, and the rural ranchers who fund the urban promotions.


Puget Sound millennial parents, ages 25 to 34, spend a lot of time online and could be persuaded by social media "consumer influencers" to eat more beef, according to the plan.


"I think we've really found a relevant sweet spot," the commission's executive director, Patti Brumbach, said.


The plan also calls for informing ranchers about the campaign they pay for but don't see. The commission hopes to increase producer support for the mandatory beef checkoff.  The commission apparently has not won over the Cattle Producers of Washington.


"They want us to pay for marketing, and we're not benefitting," Cattle Producers President Scott Nielsen said.


The Beef Commission receives a $1.50-per-head tax on cattle sold in Washington. The seller pays the tax. The state commission keeps $1 and sends 50 cents to the national Cattlemen's Beef Board. The state commission has an annual budget that has remained steady at about $1.1 million for several years.


The state commission says it doesn't have the money for a high-profile media campaign. Instead, the commission uses social media and niche events to tout beef.


Last year, the commission introduced to tech-savvy Amazon workers "Chuck," the "only all-knowing beef expert powered by Google Artificial Intelligence." Planned for this holiday season is the "Drool Log," a video of slow-cooked beef rotating.


Research conducted by a consumer survey business, Toluna, informs the campaign. Surveys show Puget Sound millennials prize taste and protein, but they also want to "trust the people that raise beef."


Through videos and in-person events, the commission seeks to introduce urban residents who know little about cattle production to ranchers.


"When it comes to the Seattle consumer, you need to focus on local producers to be relevant," Brumbach said.


The survey found millennial parents...