Middle, formerly 502 Media Group, won four awards at this year’s regional Best of NAMA awards, including Best of Show in the consumer audience category. Middle won three awards in Region II for the Wheat State Crate campaign for Kansas Wheat Commission and one award in Region V for the U.S. Wheat Associates’ 40th Anniversary.
Each year, the National Agri-Marketing Association recognizes the best work in agricultural communications and marketing through the Best of NAMA Awards. Five Best of Show awards are given for the top work in each category. Eligible entries will continue on to the national Best of NAMA contest this July.
Middle and the Kansas Wheat Commission won three awards in the consumer category:
- Best of Show — Consumer Audiences: Wheat State Crate Campaign
- First Place — Company or Producer-Funded PR Campaign Directed to Consumers: Wheat State Crate Campaign
- Merit Award — Company or Producer-Funded PR Campaign Element Directed to Consumers: Wheat State Crate Budding Artist Magazine
Middle and U.S. Wheat Associates won one award in the agricultural audiences — digital category:
- First Place — Internet Website: U.S. Wheat Associates 40th Anniversary Website
About The Winning Entries
KWC challenged 502 with finding a new approach to their harvest blogger tour, aimed at increasing affinity for Kansas wheat and the farmers that grow it. The need for a new approach was heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, as an in-person event was not safe. The solution, Wheat State Crate, involved creating themed subscription boxes and partnering with Instagram micro-influencers to reach a new, untapped audience.
“Consumers were baking and cooking at home more than ever during the pandemic, and we wanted to not only give them new ideas for using wheat foods, but also to share the story of Kansas wheat farmers,” said Marsha Boswell, Vice President of Communications of Kansas Wheat Commission. “The Wheat State Crate project was a way for us to connect with these consumers. The subscription boxes gave them baking and art projects using wheat, and many of the recipients shared their experiences on social media, expanding the reach of the campaign.”
The 40th anniversary website was part of a larger campaign celebrating USW’s 40 years of putting U.S. grown wheat in the hands of millers, bakers and families around the world. The objective of the campaign was to engage our audiences to celebrate 40 years of partnerships by showing gratitude, leveraging the “simple moments” of wheat production and human connections, and to inspire audiences to share their own stories in order to demonstrate the differential advantage that 40 years of trust and service brings to U.S. wheat.
The interactive website created a virtual experience to tell the story of U.S. Wheat Associates to those that are an active part in the journey of wheat. It served as the hub of campaign messaging and content, and recognized and represented all of the different stakeholders involved through interactive maps and stories, expressing gratitude for their roles within the value chain. It showcased simple, emotional moments that forged a feeling of connection between otherwise unrelated individuals through imagery and a brand anthem video. And it integrated partnership through user-submitted stories from both customers and farmers from across the world.
“The 40th anniversary website really did create an effective way to tell our authentic story to the next generation of customers around the world and the farmers we represent in export markets,” said U.S. Wheat Associates Vice President of Communications Steve Mercer. “It has provided a foundation in style and content for our brand into the future.”