Garst looking for big PR hit from corncam & Iowa cubs promotions. (Thinking Outside The Box).
This month's column is about watching corn grow in a cornfield and at a baseball stadium. Before you start making wisecracks about how boring this column usually is anyway ... give me the benefit of the doubt and read on.
Sports and agriculture. I've discussed with clients for years how these two areas are intertwined in the fabric of rural America. I've created sports crossword puzzles in a farm magazine for clients, tried to convince ag companies to sponsor high school sports events on a statewide basis, and helped create a salute to ag and baseball at a major league game.
That's why I was so intrigued by Jeff Lacina, public relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most manager at Garst Seed Company and AgriPro Seeds. He created a couple of nifty PR and promotional programs around, you guessed it, watching corn grow, and he did it in partnership with Iowa Farmer Today's CornCam and the Iowa Cubs The Iowa Cubs are a Class AAA minor league baseball team, affiliated with the Chicago Cubs, that plays in the Pacific Coast League. Their home games are played in Des Moines, Iowa. (Triple A baseball affiliate of the Chicago Cubs). Before you fall asleep with boredom, let's get into it. Just kidding!
CORNCAM.COM (1) (Computer Output Microfilm) Creating microfilm or microfiche from the computer. A COM machine receives print-image output from the computer either online or via tape or disk and creates a film image of each page.
The concept is rather simple: plant a corn seedling and watch it grow through harvest using a camera. The details are a bit more complicated. Jim and Sharon Greif of Prairieview Ag Supply, a retail outlet retail outlet n → punto de venta
retail outlet n → point m de vente
retail outlet retail n → in Prairieburg, Iowa Prairieburg is a city in Linn County, Iowa, United States. The population was 175 at the 2000 census. Geography
Prairieburg is located at (42.237829, -91.424416)GR1. , that sells Garst and AgriPro seeds, are hosting CornCam. The concept of watching corn grow is in its second year there. Regarding soybeans, AgriPro Seeds is sponsoring Iowa Farmer Today's SoybeanCam, debuted in the summer of 2000.
"Obviously this is a major public awareness campaign," says Lacina. "I'm always challenged to come up with ways to sell more bags of seed. There's only so much you can do without being a regular salesman. CornCam is a great tool to educate secondary audiences, find some new customers and it's a point of pride for our sales force. It differentiates us from the competition."
I suppose you're already wondering how to view corn growing on the Internet. The weekly newspaper Iowa Farmer Today has two Web sites: www.iowafarmer.com and www.corncam.com. It has three Web cams See Webcam. : CornCam, SoybeanCam and DairyCam.
Dan Zinkand, crops editor with Iowa Farmer Today, says there are many promotional benefits for his magazine to be involved in this project. But he sees a bigger picture here. "I think the whole miraculous nature of growing a crop every year gets lost among us and consumers," he says. "We have incredible seeds that are products of scientific research and these seeds get planted and harvested, often with the assistance of computers and global positioning systems Global Positioning System: see navigation satellite.
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Precise satellite-based navigation and location system originally developed for U.S. military use. . This science and technology often obscures what is truly a miracle -- that you can stick a seed in the ground and lo and beyond, you may end up with more than 700 kernels on an ear of corn."
Zinkand goes on to says there's a tremendous disconnect today between consumers and farmers, and farmers and consumers. "I can't tell you the number of e-mails I get from the public who express their admiration and respect for what farmers are doing. And all we've got to elicit that response from them is an image of corn on a Web site. In the wake of what happened last year with StarLink, CornCam gave corn farmers and the corn industry something very positive."
Zinkand estimates that up to 30 percent of those who log on to the Web sites are in production agriculture of some kind. Lacina instituted a more detailed system this year to determine how many Web site visitors are potential customers. When a visitor registers, he/she is separated into three categories: "I Grow Corn," "I Help Producers Grown Corn," and "I Just Like to Eat Corn."
Garst is also giving away t-shirts, mugs and some Iowa gift baskets for some non-farmers outside of Iowa. "What CornCam is selling is the lifestyle of Iowa's corn and soybean soybean, soya bean, or soy pea, leguminous plant (Glycine max, G. soja, or Soja max) of the family Leguminosae (pulse family), native to tropical and warm temperate regions of Asia, where it has been farmers," Lacina says. "It's a home on the Internet for displaced Iowans. They can see a part of their life they miss and no longer have."
The sponsorship with Iowa Farmer Today includes multi-column display and classified ads that are used on an "as-available" basis in the magazine and banner ads on the Web site. Zinkand has written about CornCam in Iowa Farmer Today magazine as well and many articles have been published about it, including an Associated Press Associated Press: see news agency.
Associated Press (AP)
Cooperative news agency, the oldest and largest in the U.S. and long the largest in the world. story. Other CornCam articles this year include The Christian Science Christian Science, religion founded upon principles of divine healing and laws expressed in the acts and sayings of Jesus, as discovered and set forth by Mary Baker Eddy and practiced by the Church of Christ, Scientist. Monitor and Edmonton Journal The Edmonton Journal is a daily newspaper in Edmonton, Alberta. It is part of the CanWest News Service division of CanWest Global Communications. History
The Journal was founded in 1903 by three local businessmen — John Macpherson, Arthur Moore and J. . Reuters (May 2000) and the Wall Street Journal (May 2000) mentioned it last year and National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" covered it in August of this year. CornCam also was one of three Web cams mentioned in the inaugural "Web cam" feature NBC Nightly News NBC Nightly News is the flagship evening news program for NBC News and broadcasts from the GE Building, Rockefeller Center in New York City. It has been known by this name since August 1, 1970. launched last July. The Tonight Show producers have called about it, although it hasn't made it to Jay Leno's list of items and issues to joke about on late-night television.
"I'm incredibly pleased with the promotion this year," says Lacina. "From a public relations standpoint, it makes people aware of our company and our products. From an industry standpoint, it's been phenomenal in educating the public about food issues. The more people we can get to understand us as producers the better."
"It's always great to offer our regular clients `added value' to what they do with us," says Gary Wergin, farm director of WHO Radio, Des Moines, Iowa “Des Moines” redirects here. For other uses, see Des Moines (disambiguation).
Des Moines (pronounced /dɪˈmɔɪn/ in English, . "It's even nicer when what we do is fun."
Wergin is speaking about a promotion between WHO and Garst involving giving away seats to Iowa Cubs games through a contest called the "Garst Guy Field of Dreams Seats." The seats are in the second row, right behind home plate. As Wergin puts it, "We're closer to the catcher and batter than the pitcher is in these seats."
The Garst promotion not only involved the work of Wergin and others at WHO, but also entailed planting corn in front of Sec Taylor Stadium Taylor/ΦΔΘ Stadium is a stadium in Columbia, Missouri. It is primarily used for baseball, and will be the home field of the Mid-Missouri Mavericks minor league baseball team and The University of Missouri baseball team. It originally opened in 2002. , where the Iowa Cubs play their home games.
The whole program kicked off (is that a baseball term?) early in the season at an afternoon game, where Wergin and his partner Mark Pearson
Mark "Pancho" Pearson, (born in October 28, 1939 in Ridgeway), was an English football forward. Pearson started his professional career with Manchester United F.C.. did their noon show from the Garst seats (Bob Uecker
It appears Garst, WHO and baseball fit as easily as Derek Jeter Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled until (UTC) due to vandalism. fielding a routine grounder at short. "With the size of our market, we constantly look for ways to bridge the gap between farm and city," Wergin says. "With the Field of Dreams concept with the Iowa Cubs, we've got that angle covered. This is a promotion where everybody wins."
Meanwhile, back on the field (or actually at the front of the stadium) Garst 8550 was planted in four rows in early July. Despite the terrible soil (the stadium is built on an old city dump) and late planting date, the corn filled out nicely. The small plot was enhanced with Iowa corn facts and Garst field signs.
There was no sponsorship fee paid by Garst, but for 2002 that may change. "This came together at the last minute," Lacina says. The teams' PR staff did their own publicity and Baseball Weekly picked it up, and the day the corn was planted two radio stations covered it (our president, George Dubbya was in Des Moines Des Moines, city, United States
Des Moines (dĭ moin`), city (1990 pop. 193,187), state capital and seat of Polk co., S central Iowa, at the junction of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers; inc. that day).
As you might recall, former network news executive Michael Gartner Michael Gartner (born October 25, 1938, in Des Moines, Iowa) is an American journalist and businessman. He is also President of the Iowa Board of Regents. He is a graduate of Carleton College and the New York University School of Law. is the owner of the Iowa Cubs. His seats are right in front of the Garst seats. "I've already been hit up by him for fence signage and planting the corn inside the stadium next year," Lacina adds.
Although this promotion is pretty regional, Lacina reminds us that Iowa is Garst's leading state in corn sales and, as an experiment this year, it might be the beginning of similar efforts in other leading Garst states. "I've already been hit up from other ballparks in other states," he concludes.
Den Gardner owns Gardner & Gardner Communications, New Prague, Minn.