Statler Nagle Partner in “Bread Love” with Grain Foods Industry


It is no surprise to the Statler Nagle staff that co-founder and managing partner Tom Nagle is in bread love. It is the crucial element in his daily sandwiches and one that he enjoys tremendously. Therefore, we also weren’t surprised by his enthusiasm when the Grain Foods Foundation (GFF) approached the company about a collaborative industry marketing program.

For the past year, Tom was busy working with the GFF to determine if U.S. millers and bakers were interested in creating a collaborative marketing program to respond to ongoing category declines and attacks that have positioned their products negatively in the minds of some consumers. Following our extensive efforts with a working group of industry leaders, it was also no surprise that a majority of these companies were eager to set the record straight about the proper “roll” of bread in the American diet. Using a comprehensive knowledge of category marketing best practices, Statler Nagle was able to demonstrate both the strategic premise of a campaign and the projected ROI of a successful program. Leading grocery and restaurant companies were largely supportive of an effort as well.

After Statler Nagle confirmed the appetite for the program, we worked with GFF Executive Director Christine Cochran to educate members about the various types of collaborative programs, including the benefits and drawbacks of each. Following the education phase, we recommended GFF pursue a government “checkoff” program to match the desired campaign scope, commitment and goals.

Technically called a research and promotion program, many checkoffs are well-known to U.S. consumers through memorable but product-neutral ad campaigns including: Beef – It’s What’s for Dinner; Pork – the Other White Meat; and the Got Milk? milk mustache campaign (for which Tom Nagle had been head of marketing), to name just a few.

One benefit of such a program is that it limits the issue of free riders that often plagues collaborative programs. A free rider is a company that receives the benefits of the collaborative program but for one reason or another chooses not to pay into it like their peers. A checkoff is managed by the industry through nominated representatives but administered by the United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA ensures, by law, that all qualifying companies pay their fair share of the industry assessment.

The government oversees and endorses these efforts because the country benefits from stable agriculture commodity markets, market expansion, and from the nutrition research and scientific innovation these programs conduct and encourage. Companies pursue these programs because together they can accomplish goals and solve problems that are bigger than any one company can accomplish – the checkoff elevates the entire product category.

Leaders in the grain foods industry agreed that a checkoff was the appropriate approach for them. Directed by GFF’s Christine Cochran, Statler Nagle is currently leading a marketing team in designing the new campaign, and the launch (slated for early 2020) is within sight.

A recent article in talks about the exciting new checkoff program and features Tom Nagle speaking on collaborative marketing. Two key topics were the importance of a total marketing approach and the ability to drive channel growth in food service. But, Tom noted:

“One has to be careful of the ‘Got milk?’ fallacy – some people believe that if you just run great ads everything will go better, and sales will go through the roof. Even the milk folks didn’t experience that. In order to really drive bottom-line outcomes, you have to have a consumer-facing powerful message like ‘Got milk?’, but you also need ways to drive your marketing program into the distribution channels and get traction there.

“Some of the best programs are involved with menu and product development in the food service channels, showing company decision-makers how category products and ingredients contribute to better consumer-facing menu items and better outcomes with their customer satisfaction and repeat visits.”

Statler Nagle specializes in organizing, designing, implementing and managing collaborative marketing programs. To learn more about the grain foods program and see the full article, click here:

As Woodrow Wilson once noted, “In the Lord’s Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread.” Prepare to hear more from divine grains and fall in love with bread again.