Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program Ground Media Tour

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. California Citrus Research Board 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 determined "death sentence" messaging inspired action. NST’s comprehensive outreach plan included heavy media relations, including a statewide ground media tour to earn placement in key markets. NST developed talking points and media trained Citrus Research Board President Ted Batkin and other commercial citrus industry representatives prior to embarking on the five-day tour. Each interview was designed to educate homeowners about the role they play in protecting California citrus.

Results:

22 interviews were conducted in five days

4 million impressions were earned

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

Upon seeing the success of the tour, a statewide Spanish-language media tour was approved and budgeted for NST outreach