In support of the produce industry’s efforts to drive demand for more fresh produce, the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del., announced a strategic alliance with the Entertainment Resource & Marketing Association (ERMA), a Santa Monica, Calif.-based association of entertainment marketing professionals, to bring fresh produce center stage through television shows, movies and online entertainment.

As part of the alliance, ERMA agreed to advocate the use of fresh produce in entertainment production and track that use. PMA agreed to assist ERMA to make generic, fresh produce available as those entertainment opportunities arise.

“Movies, shows and celebrities influence what consumers purchase and how they behave, so getting more fresh fruits and vegetables on-screen and in the hands of actors can help make produce cool to consumers,” says Jin Ju Wilder, PMA board director and director of corporate strategy for Valley Fruit and Produce Co., Los Angeles.“ERMA’s members were very enthusiastic about being part of PMA’s multi-pronged approach and were confident that fresh produce could be incorporated in multiple entertainment channels, making fresh fruits and vegetables ubiquitous on-screen. I’m excited to see what can result from this alliance, as it is clear that ERMA members have the expertise and the influence to make it happen.”

Using more fresh produce can fit easily into shows, whether its use is plot-driven or ancillary, like fruit on a kitchen counter or a conversation that takes place in a produce department, adds ERMA president Michael Schrager.

“When popular characters choose produce from the store, the fridge or the restaurant menu as part of their everyday interactions, viewers will identify with that as the right way to eat. By identifying shows with school age characters, we hope we can help move today’s youth to a healthier lifestyle and lessen the incidence of problems such as childhood obesity,” he says. “Our members have a proven track record and can help make that happen.”

This partnership is one of several ongoing demand creation efforts by PMA to improve consumers’ health and combat childhood obesity.

“I’m very excited to add this strategic alliance to our existing efforts to use marketing—in its broadest terms—to create greater demand for fresh produce,” says PMA’s president Cathy Burns. “This effort joins eat brighter! and FNV as new ways to put produce in front of consumers and ultimately drive fresh produce demand for our members.”