CSO Italy

Introducing Italian produce into the Hong Kong market during a global pandemic


Introducing Italian produce into the Hong Kong market during a global pandemic
Recognising the need to expand to new markets due to an overreliance on inter-European trade, the European Union and Italy’s Centro Servizi Ortofrutticoli (CSO) launched a three-year promotional project in several Asian markets to promote Italian and European fruit and vegetable products at the beginning of 2019, titled ‘The European Art of Taste.’


Public and Media Relations

Market Insights

Bloggers and Influencers

Digital and Social Strategy

Creative Writing


Coordinating with an overseas collective of fruit and vegetable producers in the run-up to Christmas is already a challenge, yet doing so during a pandemic required even more effort and creativity to surmount the inevitable roadblocks. We were tasked with lining up and aligning the disparate messaging of various Italian producers, which we then had to translate into a virtual culinary workshop – a first for our team – due to local social distancing restrictions. Indeed, these conditions would lay out a road map for conducting PR in the new normal.


Creative Strategy

We tapped into an abiding fascination in Hong Kong towards European and Italian produce by carefully handpicking and cultivating effective messaging for CSO, primarily focusing on Italy’s unique microclimate and rich soils, the country’s status as one of the leading fruit and vegetable producing countries in Europe, as well as its long history of culinary sophistication. We also highlighted the European quality safeguard certifications of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) to bolster consumer trust in the high food safety standards inherent in Italy as well as across the European Union. Our virtual media event, hosted at Italian bistro Acquasala, invited food and lifestyle media, bloggers and KOLs for a culinary workshop on Zoom, with a focus on creating buzz across social media platforms, in particular Instagram, Facebook and popular food and lifestyle blogs. Acquasala’s chef Michele Chiarello shared his knowledge and insights on Italy’s exceptional range of fruit and vegetables by demonstrating a three-course menu featuring white peach compote, fresh lemon, processed tomatoes, green kiwi, and blood orange juice, engaging media and social media figures in an informative, useful and creative manner.


Our first foray into virtual events met with success, garnering 31 press clippings that translated into 482,000 views and engagement impressions, and a total reach of just under 1.7 million. This equated to an ad value of $160,500, effectively expanding community awareness of CSO Italy and proving that media events could indeed be taken online without detriment to the potential of the outreach campaign.

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