The dairy industry's iconic Real Seal, which has been authenticating genuine U.S. dairy products on supermarket shelves since the 1970s, is getting a makeover for the social media age.
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), which took over management of the seal early in 2012, has revamped the Real Seal website and given it a Facebook page that has garnered nearly 32,000 "likes" in a little over a month. In addition, NMPF is reaching out to influential bloggers to generate more awareness and engagement around the seal.
A major goal of the social media effort is to introduce a younger generation of consumers to the Real Seal.
In addition, the NMPF aims to promote the seal as a voluntary country of origin label, since it is limited only to products manufactured from cow's milk sourced in the United States.
The revamped website has become more consumer-focused. It previously was designed primarily to help facilitate use of the seal by dairy processors and food manufacturers. The website will soon feature a buyer's guide telling consumers where they can find dairy products displaying the Real Seal, and Real Seal users can provide links to their companies' websites.
The website also features a new animated version of the seal for which NMPF is seeking a name. Through the end of August, consumers and others can suggest names for the character. The top three suggestions will be put to a vote on Facebook.
The Real Seal was created four decades ago by the California dairy promotion agency to combat the use of imitation cheeses, especially in pizzas. Ownership of the seal was transferred to the United Dairy Industry Association in 1977 for use on dairy products nationwide. While advertising campaigns were conducted in the 1980s and 1990s, more recent promotions have been driven mostly by the companies that display the seal on packaging, trucks or in their place of business.