Strathcona 1890 Urban Seed Collections is my personal project. The campaign is very extensive and demonstrates how important good creative work is to the ability of a brand to become known. The entire media budget for a year was less than $2,000.  The collections are now in 39 stores in Vancouver, Nanaimo, Victoria, Penticton and Winnipeg.      There have been failures, but that is how you learn and grow. I originally had a garlic collection - it was probably my favourite package with the line "good for the heart, but not a first date". But garlic bulbs are only good for about 4 months and because much of the time people are buying these as gifts the contents need to have a longer shelf life. I have found that you have to be willing and able to make adjustments as you go along. The canisters and labels have done some morphing since I started. As well, I experimented with a flat pack that could be more easily shipped and had a lower price point but it did not have the shelf presence of the canisters.     Many people who start launch their own product line believe so strongly in the quality or uniqueness of their creation that they think everyone else will immediately see the same things they do. Fact is you can't get a stranger to see everything you do in 5 seconds, which is about the most time you have to get them engaged in your product when it is sitting on a shelf.      The seed collections have been an amazing experience. It has not even been a year since launch and they are already in 39 stores. I will admit, seeds are not a big money maker. But this is about more than making money. It is about inspiring people to grow a little of their own food so we can become more sustainable. It is about engaging people in discussions about GMOs and food security. It is about nutrition. It is about the environment. And, I get to do it is a way that stirs my creative soul.   

Strathcona 1890 Urban Seed Collections is my personal project. The campaign is very extensive and demonstrates how important good creative work is to the ability of a brand to become known. The entire media budget for a year was less than $2,000.  The collections are now in 39 stores in Vancouver, Nanaimo, Victoria, Penticton and Winnipeg.

 

There have been failures, but that is how you learn and grow. I originally had a garlic collection - it was probably my favourite package with the line "good for the heart, but not a first date". But garlic bulbs are only good for about 4 months and because much of the time people are buying these as gifts the contents need to have a longer shelf life. I have found that you have to be willing and able to make adjustments as you go along. The canisters and labels have done some morphing since I started. As well, I experimented with a flat pack that could be more easily shipped and had a lower price point but it did not have the shelf presence of the canisters.

 

Many people who start launch their own product line believe so strongly in the quality or uniqueness of their creation that they think everyone else will immediately see the same things they do. Fact is you can't get a stranger to see everything you do in 5 seconds, which is about the most time you have to get them engaged in your product when it is sitting on a shelf. 

 

The seed collections have been an amazing experience. It has not even been a year since launch and they are already in 39 stores. I will admit, seeds are not a big money maker. But this is about more than making money. It is about inspiring people to grow a little of their own food so we can become more sustainable. It is about engaging people in discussions about GMOs and food security. It is about nutrition. It is about the environment. And, I get to do it is a way that stirs my creative soul.

 

 One of the key elements of this campaign is the unexpected combination of fine botanical artwork with quirky humorous lines. I get so many people that walk up to see the packages and comment on how lovely they are. Then they read the lines and laugh.    Photo Joe Borelli © 2013

One of the key elements of this campaign is the unexpected combination of fine botanical artwork with quirky humorous lines. I get so many people that walk up to see the packages and comment on how lovely they are. Then they read the lines and laugh. 

Photo Joe Borelli © 2013

 Smaller sample packages of seeds use archival style glassine envelopes which are sealed by a label the folds over the top.

Smaller sample packages of seeds use archival style glassine envelopes which are sealed by a label the folds over the top.

 Ads catch the viewers attention by being clean and simple and while twists and humour to engage consumers. I am a huge fan of humour. When you engage people emotionally they are more likely to have positive recall of your product. Because I don't have a media budget that will support print ads, these are used as displayers or as signage in the Truck Farm.

Ads catch the viewers attention by being clean and simple and while twists and humour to engage consumers. I am a huge fan of humour. When you engage people emotionally they are more likely to have positive recall of your product. Because I don't have a media budget that will support print ads, these are used as displayers or as signage in the Truck Farm.

  Photo Rick Etkin © 2012 

Photo Rick Etkin © 2012 

  Guerilla Marketing   One of my mantras to clients has always been: "if you want to be noticed, be where your competition isn't". When I first launched the seeds I created post-it notes. I have always had a hate on for anything stuck under my windshield wipers, especially if it is on the passenger side. But post it notes on the driver window or mirror get attention and are not difficult to remove from the driver's side. They also would generally get noticed before the car was moving. I printed up a few thousand and my kids & I put them on vehicles in parking lots, on ferries, even on the doors of houses etc. It was a simple, fast and effective way of getting our initial message out there. I kept a few in the glove box and when I saw an opportunity, I would jump on it. It is a program I intend to repeat with the newer packaging.

Guerilla Marketing

One of my mantras to clients has always been: "if you want to be noticed, be where your competition isn't". When I first launched the seeds I created post-it notes. I have always had a hate on for anything stuck under my windshield wipers, especially if it is on the passenger side. But post it notes on the driver window or mirror get attention and are not difficult to remove from the driver's side. They also would generally get noticed before the car was moving. I printed up a few thousand and my kids & I put them on vehicles in parking lots, on ferries, even on the doors of houses etc. It was a simple, fast and effective way of getting our initial message out there. I kept a few in the glove box and when I saw an opportunity, I would jump on it. It is a program I intend to repeat with the newer packaging.

 Probably my best bit of guerilla marketing is the Truck Farm. Mind you that is just part of its job.      The Strathcona 1890 Truck Farm is a mobile demonstration of growing food in small urban spaces. It is a real head turner too. When I drive the Truck Farm I will be guaranteed to engage someone along the way. If it is parked, it will often draw a crowd. Someone once told me they figured it was the most photographed vehicle in all of Vancouver.    It also gets requests to come to events and has garnered me free exposure in locations that might cost thousands of dollars. I estimate it has garnered at least $10,000 worth of exposure in 2013 alone. That is not counting the newspaper articles it has generated including a half page on page 4 of the Vancouver Sun.

Probably my best bit of guerilla marketing is the Truck Farm. Mind you that is just part of its job. 

 

The Strathcona 1890 Truck Farm is a mobile demonstration of growing food in small urban spaces. It is a real head turner too. When I drive the Truck Farm I will be guaranteed to engage someone along the way. If it is parked, it will often draw a crowd. Someone once told me they figured it was the most photographed vehicle in all of Vancouver.  

It also gets requests to come to events and has garnered me free exposure in locations that might cost thousands of dollars. I estimate it has garnered at least $10,000 worth of exposure in 2013 alone. That is not counting the newspaper articles it has generated including a half page on page 4 of the Vancouver Sun.