Winning Hearts and MindsWhile Running An Election

The Edwards Baking Co. gourmet dessert line needed to extend brand equity from an established base in institutional and delivery segments to a stronger position on grocery shelves.

Was there an idea big enough to accelerate a marketing task that would ordinarily take years and tens of millions in media dollars?



Edwards should poll the electorate, generate grassroots buzz, get state officials behind the brand, provoke media noise, and extend excitement to all 50 states. Oh, and move product as well!

The Please Pass the Pie campaign was born—nothing less than a national lobby to name an “Official State Pie” in each of 48 states that still do not have one. The first showdown came in Florida after Sen. Larcenia Bullard and Rep. Dan Gelber got an official state pie bill passed out of the legislative committee.

At the same time, our strategists stoked the excitement on the grassroots level with an Interactive Voting Website and Informative Podcasts. As the floor vote officially came to a head, consumers were invited to have their say at the “American Pie Festival” in Celebration, FL.



For months, Edwards garnered huge publicity and word-of-mouth mileage:

  • Needing no persuasion, local, national and trade media gleefully picked up on the need for each state to have an official pie. Publicity spilled over the border to Ontario and Yahoo! News publicized the “Florida question” on the Internet.
  • At the state capitol in Tallahassee, legislators officially cast their votes. At the “American Pie Festival”, consumers enjoyed themselves with eating contests while casting their ballots in the lighthearted mock election.
  • Rollouts to California, Chicago, Baltimore, and Seattle followed. ABC-TV “Eyewitness” coverage of the event in Los Angeles delivered over half a million impressions. At the end of Phase I, votes for local favorites were cast in four states.



It was a year when Edwards also snatched the annual National Pie contest hands down.

The Please Pass the Pie partnership gained a victory, symbolic but huge, after the Florida legislature named Key Lime the official state pie…By the oddest coincidence, Key Lime Pie is Edwards’ best-selling product.

The imaginative strategy of wrapping the brand in the flag and affirming that Edwards was as American as, well…apple pie.

Clearly, Edwards was well on the way to gaining solid Brand Equity as preferred dessert choice in the minds of Consumers, Trade and the Media.

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Warren Buffett
Business Magnate & Investor, Berkshire Hathaway

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Steve Jobs
Co-Founder, Apple

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Vice Chair, General Electric

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Founder, Ogilvy & Mather

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