Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program Statewide Awareness Campaign

Challenge:

California’s $2 billion citrus industry is facing the biggest threat it has ever known: the Asian citrus psyllid. This pest can carry the most deadly citrus disease in the world, called Huanglongbing (HLB) or citrus greening disease. There is no cure for the disease. When a tree becomes infected with the disease, it will eventually die.

The best way to fight the disease is to suppress the spread of the pest that can carry it, the Asian citrus psyllid. The Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program has tasked Nuffer, Smith, Tucker with raising awareness, especially among the many California homeowners with backyard citrus trees who may unknowingly be harboring the pest, and to encourage the public to take necessary steps to save California citrus.

Qualitative research conducted by NST demonstrated a strong need for education and found "death sentence" messaging inspired action. NST’s comprehensive outreach plan included: formation of a dedicated website; outreach to stakeholder groups; public service announcement development; radio news release distribution; traffic spot placement; elected official education; participation in community events; social media outreach; and heavy media relations, including statewide media tours in English and Spanish. Throughout all outreach, the message was clear: we must act now to save California citrus.

Results:

101,274,500 audience impressions were earned through 2012 activities.

At least 91 media placements were earned through traditional outreach.

Public service announcements aired 17,758 times.

365 local government and elected officials in 110 cities were briefed.

California Department of Food and Agriculture reported an increase in calls to the Asian citrus psyllid hotline.