May 21, 2024

Iconic ‘Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.’ brand stands the test of time

Celebrating 35 years of Beef Checkoff successes

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — As the Beef Checkoff celebrates its 35th anniversary, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, is shining a light on the successful promotion and research programs that drive the demand for beef.

Nothing epitomizes the Beef Checkoff more than the iconic “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” brand.

From celebrity voices and images of sizzling steaks on the grill, to the familiar “Rodeo” music composed by Aaron Copland, the sights and sounds of the brand are recognized by generations of consumers.

As a proud contractor to the Beef Checkoff, NCBA has managed the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” consumer marketing program for more than 27 years, inspiring people to purchase and enjoy beef.

“What has made the brand so successful over the years is the ability to adapt based on changing consumer demographics,” said Becca McMillan, Oklahoma producer and co-chair of the Domestic Marketing Checkoff Committee. “It truly has provided producers, like me, a voice and an opportunity to connect with consumers.”

When “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” was born in the early ′90s, the brand frequently appeared in television ads which featured familiar voices of well-known actors.

At a time when there was a handful of consolidated networks, television advertising was an effective and logical choice. In today’s ultra-fragmented media landscape there is an endless number of media outlets and advertising opportunities.

Over the years marketing efforts transitioned to digital and social media, reaching consumers where they find information and make purchasing decisions.

Today, the vast majority of consumers use smartphones and computers, accessing popular platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Google, where Checkoff advertising runs year-round.

Digital advertising is cost-effective, and ads can be strategically targeted to specific consumers. For example, digital beef ads can be fed to consumers looking for alternative meats, reminding them that beef is the protein of choice.

Use of influencers such as chefs, food bloggers, dietitians and producers themselves also extends the social reach of the positive beef message. These third-party endorsers actively engage with their followers making an emotional connection with consumers, helping combat misinformation about the industry.

The media world was not immune to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fewer advertisers resulted in lower advertising costs, which opened the door for “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” to return to broadcast television.

“Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” advertised on the Hallmark Channel in December 2020 to promote beef for the holidays, appeared on Fox Sports during the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race in February 2021 and is currently showcasing beef as the summer grilling choice on the Food Network.

No matter how beef’s story has been shared over the last three decades, one thing remains the same and that is the need for consumer education. “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” remains a trusted resource for shoppers to learn about beef’s nutritional benefits, find tips for selecting and preparing beef and discover new recipes.

In the last year alone, “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” garnered more than 1 billion impressions, and the brand is recognized by 70% of the U.S. population.

The combination of digital and social media and cable television advertising has increased awareness of beef as the protein of choice and has provided the opportunity to directly engage with consumers, ultimately building relationships and inviting them to be part of the conversation.

“Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” continues to be the platform for promoting beef’s nutrition, taste and quality, as well as for sharing the stories about the producers behind the product.

At the end of the day the question on everyone’s mind is “what’s for dinner?” — and luckily there is an easy answer: “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.”

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