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Martin Hall Agency students work to increase awareness and involvement in West Virginia’s cider industry

Written by advertising students Courtney Bearer, Matthew Daniels, Raymon Lapoint and Emma Wood A group of students stand in front of Martin Hall
The Martin Hall Agency team worked on the West Virginia hard apple cider campaign

This fall, the Martin Hall Agency (MHA) class partnered with WVU Extension to elevate the cider industry in West Virginia. The campaign aimed to increase awareness of and pride in the Mountain State’s deeply rooted hard apple–cider traditions.

“The Mountain State holds such a significant part in the history and culture behind apple cider,” said Dee Singh-Knights, associate professor of resource economics and management and a specialist for WVU Extension. “We want to recognize, celebrate and educate others on West Virginia hard cider stemming from Appalachian roots.”

The MHA campaign, “Seed. Swig. Smile.” aims to educate West Virginians and out-of-state travelers about Appalachian hard cider. Each word of the tagline is meant to reflect West Virginia cider traditions: “Seed” for the rich farming and horticulture native to the state; “swig” for the cider-making tradition passed down from generation to generation; and “smile” for the community-oriented nature of the cider industry and how it gives back to West Virginians.

The MHA team launched the campaign Nov. 18 – National Apple Cider Day in the United States – to build excitement and interest for West Virginia cider while directing viewers to learn more. They developed content related to the cider-making process and Appalachian traditions for the WVU Extension website and then used Facebook, Instagram and email marketing to drive traffic to the webpage.

Videos and photos from such locations as the WVU Animal Husbandry Farm, Hawk Knob and Swilled Dog were captured by the team and featured throughout the campaign, and educational banners were created to present each aspect of West Virginia cider culture. The banners were showcased at an agritourism networking event for West Virginia businesses on Dec. 1. The students also secured news coverage in The Dominion Post, The Monroe Watchman and the Mountain Statesman.

A display used to promote hard cider

Educational displays showcased at Swilled Dog’s Home Grown Event

The banners and stickers created by the MHA team will be used by WVU Extension for future events throughout the state.

For more information about the West Virginia cider industry, see the video created for the campaign and visit extension.wvu.edu/agriculture/agritourism/hard-cider.