Vidalia Onion Committee chief heads to U.S. Apple

03/10/2013 09:21:00 PM
Coral Beach

Wendy BrannenCourtesy Vidalia Onion CommitteeWendy Brannen, executive director for the Vidalia Onion Committee, is resigning to take a position with the U.S. Apple Association, Washington D.C.(UPDATED COVERAGE, March 11) Wendy Brannen, the woman behind the monster marketing campaign that saw onions make mainstream media headlines is leaving her position as executive director of the Vidalia Onion Committee to take a job with the U.S. Apple Association. 

Brannen said she will join the McLean, Va.-based apple association as director of consumer health and public relations on April 22.

Details of plans to succeed her were not included in the committee’s March 8 news release announcing her plans to move to the apple.

Brannen has led the committee since July 2005, introducing the sweet Georgia onions to social media marketing and scoring a consumer sales boost of almost 30% when she spearheaded the “Ogres & Onions” campaign.

The Vidalia partnership with DreamWorks Animation featured the movie character Shrek, an ogre with a taste for onions.

Courtesy VOCThe "Ogres & Onions" promotional campaign spearheaded by Wendy Brannen generated mainstream media coverage.Ogres & Onions landed Vidalia onions on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, on ABC World News with Dianne Sawyer, Fox Business, in the New York Post, and in news stories by many other national and mainstream media outlets.

Jason Herndon, vice chairman of the Vidalia committee, credited Brannen with helping Vidalia onions become a “major marketed commodity” in the committee’s news release.

Brannen expanded the reach of Vidalia onions by introducing social media marketing to the sweet Georgia onions and their growers.

One recent program, executed in 2012 and dubbed “Vidalias & Country Music,” involved the Universal Music Group in Nashville.

During the promotion the Vidalia Onion Committee launched a new Facebook page that collected almost 36,000 fans in a four-month period. About 50,000 Facebook users downloaded Vidalia coupons during the promotion.

In 2011 Brannen conceived a national jingle contest that generated more than 136,000 visitors to the Vidalia Onion Committee’s website. The winning jingle is now used in radio advertising.

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Ron Orr    
Jefferson City, MO  |  March, 11, 2013 at 11:57 AM

The Vidalia Onion Committee has made an error in judgement, in their acceptance of Miss Wendy's resignation. She brought to them a level of enthusiasm and professionalism that will be most difficult to replace. In addition to her work with the onion association, Miss Wendy,s work with the industry at large, through the various trade associations was not less than outstanding. The growers and shippers of fresh apples, just got a plum! Good Luck Miss Wendy!

William Watson    
Orlando, FL  |  March, 15, 2013 at 09:07 AM

Ditto! Good luck Wendy!

Lori Taylor    
Indianapolis  |  March, 12, 2013 at 06:31 PM

Wendy is the one person I look up to the most in this industry. She continually inspires me. I wish her the very BEST of luck. Vidalia's loss is US Apple's gain. She is the best of the best.

Al Lanfeld    
Los Angeles, CA  |  March, 15, 2013 at 09:16 PM

Wendy was "Fantastic" in promoting Vidalia Onions. A great asset. However, I have confidence that the Vidalia Onion Committee Officers amd members will hire will a replacement who will also be excellent. Good luck. Al Laneld, Garner-Lanfeld Packaging-L.A.

Raleigh, NC  |  March, 19, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Wendy Brannen did an amazing job for the Vidalia Onion Committee, bringing their product a unique and widely viewed presence in the retail grocery business. Vidalia's loss is U.S. Apple's gain. Best of luck to Wendy, a true professional.

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