Looking to millennials to expand Jarlsberg brand in US

By Beth Newhart

- Last updated on GMT

Jarlsberg cheese plate kits will be given away throughout 2019 to draw in younger customers.
Jarlsberg cheese plate kits will be given away throughout 2019 to draw in younger customers.

Related tags Cheese Promotional activity jarlsberg Retailing

Jarlsberg has been available in the US since the 1960s, and the company that produces it, Norseland (a subsidiary of Norwegian cooperative TINE), is attempting to extend what it says is a typical baby boomer audience to capture the interest of a younger crowd. Using a digital-forward approach and a few influencer partnerships, it’s hoping to bring Jarlsberg into more US households.

Jarlsberg is made from cow’s milk and has a nutty, mild flavor and is pale yellow in color. Though often confused with Swiss cheese, it’s sweeter and stronger in comparison.

Valerie Liu, marketing manager at Norseland, told DairyReporter that though sales have not been down, the cheese is looking to expand its reach.

In 2019, the company said it plans to focus on drawing in older millennials, currently aged 27-35. According to Liu, the ‘biggest opportunity’ is with this group because they are the ones “who are food savvy, who entertain and who use social media to share those ‘special moments.’ We want to associate that with Jarlsberg.”

Influencing a new audience

‘Life’s Best Served with Jarlsberg’ is the new communication platform and advertising campaign being rolled out this year, including interactive recipes, influencer marketing and social media ads. To kick it off, Jarlsberg opened a pop-up shop in New York City last year and dipped into experiential retail.

It invited Marissa Mullen of That Cheese Plate to create custom cheese boards and run educational workshops at the pop-up.

Mullen founded That Cheese Plate in her college dorm as a “company that encourages creativity and educates readers on the world of cheese and food styling.”​ She will be working with Jarlsberg throughout 2019.

It’s part of a year-long series that centers on cheese plates designed by Mullen. She made six Jarlsberg cheese plate concepts, and kits will be given away throughout the year containing everything needed to recreate the - cheese, charcuterie, garnish and special pairings.

The first giveaway coincided with Valentine’s Day, and Liu said it was so successful that Jarlsberg would be increasing the number of giveaway baskets for its next promotion at Easter. Customers can enter to win the baskets by filling out a form on the Jarlsberg website, or interacting with the brand’s Facebook page.

Jarlsberg is also exploring limited partnerships at brick-and-mortar venues, pairing the cheese with more than just wine. It draws on what Liu said is the tendency of millennials to choose interactive experiences, like breweries, game bars and pop-up shops.

“The pairings we’re going to be doing ​[will be at] experiential events at craft breweries, which are pretty popular with this age group. It pairs nicely with the product because our product is mild and mellow and goes well with beer,”​ Liu said.

Jarlsberg plans for these events to happen in the year’s third quarter, around ‘Friendsgiving’ and Thanksgiving. The bulk of the new advertising campaigns, promotional events and craft brewery deals will take place in the northeast first, in the New York metro area, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

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