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Community Effort Helps Win Wellington Adventure

April 22, 2002

Issued for Mainland Cheese by Pead PR

Say cheese in Timaru and smiles break out everywhere.

That’s because almost the entire community – and half of South Canterbury – has been eating cheese to help a local school class win a trip to Te Papa in Wellington.

And all the effort has paid off for Room Seven at Timaru’s St Joseph’s School. The class has won the trip by collecting more than three times the number of Mainland Cheese barcodes than the next best entrant.

In what has been billed as the ultimate class trip, the company has been encouraging school communities to collect bar codes of the company’s products in the Mainland Cheese Win a Class Trip to Te Papa Competition

The class that collected the most, won the trip to Te Papa for up to 30 children and six adults.

When the competition closed on April 12, St Joseph’s had collected 2,060 bar codes for the win. Next best was Ms Lemmon’s class at Kapanui School from Paraparaumu north of Wellington which had 623.

Third place went to a Room Seven from a St Joseph’s School also – but in Opotiki.

“We are extremely pleased with the response we have had to the competition,” says Marketing Manager - Cheese & Butter, Sharon Angus. “The community and family involvement typifies everything that is special about the Mainland brand.”

Peter Burt, who is a trustee of St Joseph’s Timaru, said the pupils got stuck in to the task.

“When you consider probably 80 per cent of the class have never been out of the South Island and about the same percentage have never been in a plane you can see why they were so keen,” he says.

Mr Burt said the 10 and 11 year olds decided to get a move on when they saw on the Mainland Cheese web site that they were dragging the chain in the competition.

“About five weeks before the end of the promotion we checked out how we stood and it wasn’t too good – the North Island schools were well ahead. So we got together and came up with a strategy to involve the entire community.”

The 26-strong team in room seven, led by Megan Samuels the class teacher and Peter Burt who is trustees chairman, mapped out a strategy to get the community behind their bid.

Included were mail outs to parents, letter box drops, publicity in the local newspaper and on Timaru’s two radio stations, a special colour poster for the four local supermarkets as well as personal appearances at the supermarkets.

Some of the class’ tactics included asking supermarket shoppers if they’d mind if the students could clip the bar codes off the customers’ Mainland Cheese purchases. They also asked local business to donate money most of which was used to buy cheese that was then given to charity – minus the bar codes, of course.

“We just got tremendous support and almost everyone in the community got behind our efforts – we couldn’t have an Auckland school beating us, could we?” Mr Burt asks.

He says Mainland Cheese provided superb support and encouragement. “The company was terrific and gave us posters and publicity material and encouragement,” Mr Burt says.

The class’ efforts paid off and resulted in a deluge of bar codes from as far away as Twizel and Geraldine.

“It was pretty exciting,” Mr Burt says. “When we submitted our entry to Mainland’s competition web site we slowed it down a bit – we knew we had done well.”

Mr Burt is not sure when the class will take its prize trip – but he is sure the experience of entering and winning the competition has been a “great marketing and enterprise activity for the cheese troops”.

“The trip will be the continuation of a massive adventure for the children,” he says.

Mainland is delighted that St Joseph’s has displayed such entrepreneurial spirit, Ms Angus says. In recognition of their efforts a Mainland representative is officially confirming the win to the class tomorrow (April 23).

To complete the exercise, the class is putting together thank you letters to sponsors and all who have helped win them the trip to Te Papa.

ends

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