By Dave Harrison
Industry marketing:getting the message out
One of the most creative moments in television broadcasting was shown a few years ago. It was a TV commercial. The clip opens with a view of a city street, with a superimposed note, “Seattle, 1953.” We next see a boy trying to decide between a Pepsi vending machine and a Coke vending machine, each across the street from one another. The boy opts for the Pepsi, takes a swig, and stares at the electric guitar in the pawnshop window just behind the vending machine. He then looks across the street at the Coke machine, which is in front of a store selling accordions. He looks back at the guitar and we hear the unmistakable opening notes of “Purple Haze” on guitar. Now, superimposed across the screen is the notation, “James Marshall Hendrix, age 11.” The young boy then looks across the street and we hear “Purple Haze” played on an accordion. “Whew, that was a close one,” reads the commercial note, as the young boy prepares to leave the store with the guitar.
Marketing/advertising is a powerful tool. Canadian humorist Mark Twain once wrote that: “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”
It’s such a big part of day-to-day life. The magazine Ad Age once published its Top 100 Advertising Campaigns. How influential were these campaigns? How can we ever forget:
• “You deserve a break today.” (McDonald’s, 1971)
• “Good to the last drop.” (Maxwell House, 1959)
• “Melt’s in your mouth, not in your hands.” (M&Ms, 1954)
How many people know which:
• Cereal is the “breakfast of champions.” (Wheaties, 1930s)
• Battery keeps on “going and going and going.” (Energizer (1989)
• Beer “tastes great, less filling.” (Miller Lite, 1974)
Entire political campaigns are largely waged via advertising campaigns. (OK, so not all marketing/advertising has positive results.) Super Bowl games are often remembered more for their commercials (and possibly a wardrobe malfunction) than the score.
Some agricultural groups have been successful with mass media exposure. The “Get Crackin’” and “Got Milk” campaigns all promoted their products quite effectively.
Greenhouse product quality and yields have improved greatly over the past few years. Unfortunately, attention to marketing/advertising has lagged behind.
However, that’s changing. The vegetable sector has welcomed a number of new joint marketing initiatives, largely involving Canadian and/or either U.S. or Mexican shippers. The most recent example was the formation of a new sales and marketing company by B.C. Hot House Foods Inc. and Greenhouse Produce Company, LLC, of Florida. It will market all greenhouse produce grown by the producers of both companies, ensuring year-round supply.
Cut flower growers, importers and trade associations south of the border are hoping to develop a floral marketing funding coalition for mandated funding of a national floral promotion program. Meetings with growers and importers are now underway. Such promotion is defined as “any action, including paid advertising, that presents a favourable image of cut flowers and cut greens to the general public and to the industry.”
Noted U.S. business leader Robert W. Sarnoff, RCA chairman from 1970 to 1975, once said that: “Advertising is the foot on the accelerator, the hand on the throttle, the spur on the flank that keeps our economy surging forward.”
Marketing greenhouse products is becoming increasingly important. There’s a lot of competition in the marketplace, almost a haze (purple or otherwise) of opportunities, and consumers have to be sold on the value of what’s being offered. In any marketplace, you’ve got to shout to stand out.