The “Grow” campaign for Merschman Seeds included some retouched barns where we added the weathered “Grow” type to the sides, as well as a song give-away from country singer Jake McVey. Over 100,000 seed guides were distributed that includes a CD single (actually more than a single, it included both an electric version and an acoustic version of the song Grow.) There is also a downloadable version of the electric version of the song available on the Merschman website. (Yes, you can click the link ad get a copy for yourself.) The catalogs were included in mailings of the Iowa Farmer Today, Illinois Farmer Today and similar publications and a “slim jim” version was tucked into Mid-America Farmer Grower (MAFG.) Billboards were placed in key growing areas. Radio commercials also featured the McVey song in them. Print ads changes messaging, but the core “grow” theme and graphics were consistent throughout.
The strategy was two-fold. One was a general awareness program. As the company is growing and moving into new markets, giving away something of value can help a business get noticed in a positive light. (You didn’t have to be a customer or buy anything to get the free song.) Second, our goal is to differentiate Merschman compared to the Big Seed companies. (See also the BS ads from previous years.) By offering a farm friendly message, we can share the story that Merschman Seeds is different than the big companies whose decision-making seems to be more about profits and less about helping the farmers and their communities. Merschman Seeds, on the other hand, is a family-owned business that understands the needs of the American farmer and whose ownership and employees are similar to the families that work on the farms. Yet, at the same time our message always includes the fact that the technology and business acumen is second to none, Merschman Seeds delivers higher profits to the farming businesses.