National Watermelon Promotion Board Presents Watermelon Master Classes
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
WINTER SPRINGS, FL - As far as my experience in the kitchen goes, I wouldn’t dream of calling myself a Master. However, the National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) is aiming to change that. The NWPB released a series of media events called the Watermelon Virtual Master Class, a virtual version of the NYC-based event for the at-home world of media and influencers to educate, inform, and inspire watermelon content and coverage.
“We confirmed attendees across the country, rather than have to only host those based in the NYC-area. We sent out custom-curated watermelon boxes with a mix of items related to each class and related to our brand: a logoed chef’s apron and a new kitchen knife, a cocktail shaker and food pun spatula, etc. The boxes generated excitement and enthusiasm for the classes, and each one was well attended...with the cameras turned ON!” said Stephanie Barlow, Senior Director of Communications.
With the excitement generated from these events, consumers will have more exposure of this summertime fruit favorite, driving more attention and demand to a category usually not in season. The reinvention of the media event turned into three separate virtual events on three different topics, three different presenters with three sets of recipe ideas, and the coordination of sending out three different curated boxes of watermelon goodies for the media to enjoy and utilize for their Watermelon Master Classes.
According to the press release, the strategies were tri-fold:
- Lean on “Back to Basics” materials to educate at-home cooks on easy ways to get creative with watermelon
- Leverage “Use the Whole Watermelon” messaging to encourage the use of the rind and juice
- Develop strong relationships with members of the media and influence their watermelon content for months to come
“To date, we have nearly 40 social media posts and 15 articles covering these events, which wasn’t even one of the main strategies, but it is additional earned content on their personal influencer networks. We look forward to building long lasting partnerships with writers and their publications in the coming year,” said Barlow.
NWPB spent weeks pitching media contacts from major publications, in a time when much of the country was in a shelter-in-place order, to offer an at-home, free event to create content and excitement about the sweet summer staple. Additionally, NWPB provided education focused on a year-round message to extend the seasonal reach and amplify watermelon’s appeal.
In total, NWPB hosted 60 food editors, writers, and media dietitians. The timing of the classes gave many attendees the opportunity to create their own watermelon content this summer, in time for National Watermelon Day and beyond. Several attendees posted on their personal social pages, where media turned into influencers to endorse watermelon recipes, usage ideas, and health benefits.
The Watermelon Master Classes that were available are as follows:
- Watermelon Wellness with Pam Smith, RDN featuring Salted Watermelon Woju, Watermelon Overnight Oats, Watermelon Poke Salad, and a Watermelon Yogurt Smoothie
- The Ultimate Watermelon Workshop with cookbook authors Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein, creating Thai-inspired Watermelon Rind Salad, Curried Wheatberry Watermelon Salad, and Watermelon and Prosciutto and Mozzarella Skewers
- Summer Sips Watermelon Cocktails with Jordan Catapano from This Girls Walks into a Bar, mixing a Watermelon Rose Sangria, Watermelon Gimlet, and a Summer into Fall Cocktail
“The engaging questions were rampant throughout all the classes, asking everything from watermelon storage techniques to flavor pairings, or alternative ingredients when you couldn’t find elderflower liqueur or red wheat berries, which effectively made these events much richer than a plain recipe demonstration,” Barlow continued.
Will there be more Master Classes from the industry in other top-dollar categories? Keep reading ANUK to find out.