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"Cheeselandia" wins award from American Marketing Association

Grace Connatser
Wisconsin State Farmer
Pictured left to right: Rachel Kerr, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Director of Events and PR and Suzanne Fanning, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin Senior Vice President and Wisconsin Cheese Chief Marketing Officer accept the Gold REGGIE Award on behalf of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.

"Cheeselandia," a community created by Wisconsin Cheese, has been awarded the American Marketing Association's Brand Smart Grand Champion Award.

Cheeselandia was created in 2018 to focus on influencer marketing strategies. The group markets Wisconsin cheese products by telling the stories of its fans as well as their relationships with their friends, families and other communities. Cheeselandia won the award for its ingenuity and innovation in the marketing field.

"We wanted to build an authentic movement to unite real cheese lovers worldwide around their passion for great cheese and the incredible experiences it can create," said Suzanne Fanning, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin senior vice president and Wisconsin Cheese chief marketing officer.

The group held cheese parties at cheese-lovers' homes and also held pop-up events in large markets, like Orlando and Boston, bringing together thousands of people in the name of cheese. Since the pandemic began, these events have transitioned into a virtual format over Zoom meetings.

Wisconsin Cheese claims to hold the unofficial title of "World’s Largest Virtual Cheese Party." They held a Zoom cheese party that included hundreds of cheese-lovers from 43 US states as well as Mexico and Canada.

Wisconsin Cheese has made other strides in marketing before – they also won a Gold Reggie award from the Association of National Advertisers for their cheese lounge at the annual South by Southwest film and music festival. They've also had earned media spots in newspapers like The New York Times and on TV shows such as the TODAY Show.

"We’re very impressed with Wisconsin Cheese's marketing efforts," said Sid Cook, Carr Valley master cheese maker. "They use creative and unique strategies to build a story around the great cheeses coming out of Wisconsin."