Brand Building With A Comic Superhero

Brand Building With A Comic Superhero

The Amazing Spiderman. The Incredible Hulk. The Adventures of Tommy Treadwell.

Wait, Tommy who?

Tommy Treadwell, of course. No, Tommy isn’t the world-famous comic superhero Peter Parker and Bruce Banner are. He is, however, the face of the Treadwell perennial brand as the creation of The Perennial Farm in Glen Arm, Md. And now, Tommy has his own comic series.

“I think the possibilities really are endless for a comic,” says Tom Watson, Treadwell’s marketing and brand manager. “We lined up about six for this year, each with a specific message.”

The first comic in The Adventures of Tommy Treadwell introduces a few of the more popular varieties in the Treadwell line. The next comic, which Kiley indicates will be released sometime in the next couple weeks, will focus on the Treadwell brand website, TreadwellPlants.com, which was launched in January. Yet another idea for 2011 is to put Tommy in a garden center to create displays.

Comics, of course, are nothing new but building visibility for a brand in floriculture with a comic isn’t something you see every day. But because few, if any, growers have used comics as a vehicle to promote a brand, The Adventures of Tommy Treadwell is catching the attention of The Perennial Farm’s customers.

“My experience in life is people don’t like to be sold, they want to buy,” says Ed Kiley, sales and marketing director. “So by using a cartoon character it’s kind of a subliminal sort of sale. It’s also provoking people to want to understand what the brand is about.”

The comic, which The Perennial Farm shared with customers in a recent e-newsletter, is just one component of the brand-building campaign for Treadwell. Point-of-purchase materials The Perennial Farm provides are another key to catching the customer’s eye at the garden center. In all, Watson says The Perennial Farm offers somewhere between 15 and 20 items for marketing, including banners, flags, mugs and standalone bench top displays.

Goals for Treadwell are to partner with other growers to produce the line and expand to the west. Building the Treadwell brand has generated interest from customers in states The Perennial Farm previously did not serve much–or at all. But now that Treadwell is in its third year and still growing in interest, Kiley is setting his sights high.

“Last June we built a gutter-connected greenhouse,” he says. “It’s finished and it’s now filled to the rim with plants. A good portion of the plants in there are Treadwell.”

Other new facets to Treadwell this year are UPS shipping and one-way shipping racks.

“We ship plants out to St. Louis and Kansas City–places we typically wouldn’t go because the load wouldn’t warrant it,” Kiley says.

Learn more about Treadwell online at TreadwellPlants.com, and check out the first comic in The Adventures of Tommy Treadwell series in the slideshow below.

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