Strawberry Disaster Leads to Marketing Blitz
Glendale Farms

Increase sales

& Trade

Limited budget


Highlight benefits of more variety & locally grown plants.
Promote low farmstand prices.

Print ads
Direct mail


Blame it on last summer's drought. For the first time in 20 years this popular pick-your-own strawberry farm lost its entire eight acre crop.

It was so dry that brackish water backed farther up the Housatonic River than ever before, explained Glendale Farms owner Tim Astriab. Unbeknownst to him, the farm's irrigation ponds were contaminated with a trace of salt which then killed the sensitive strawberry plants during a season's end sprinkling.

To replace the lost revenue, Astriab turned to his 150,000 square feet of greenhouses.

Last winter he planted like never before: more than 300 different varieties of flowers, vegetables, hanging baskets, potted plants, potted arrangements of flowers plus groundcovers.

Unfortunately, Astriab also knew that "if you plant it - they won't necessarily come."

So for the first time in many years, he turned to marketing. Like most small businesses, Glendale Farms had always thrived on word of mouth.

Newspaper Ads
Click here for copy.


Glendale Farms is up against a very competitive marketplace.

For retail sales, some of Glendale's own wholesale customers take much bigger ads in local papers promoting the same bedding plants, hanging baskets, patio pots, etc. Also in the fray are the big chain stores and warehouse outlets. Even if he spent his entire marketing budget on print ads, Astriab would not be able to compete head-to-head, and would not necessarily want to do so.

Because wholesale is an important part of his greenhouse sales volume, Astriab wanted to promote retail - but not at the expense of wholesale. He also wanted to increase his wholesale business.

Influential Ideas

Influential Communications picked up on the tremendous selection of plants in Glendale Farms' greenhouses. Because they are the source for retail, they have more varieties of plants than most any retailer can afford to carry.

To position Glendale against the chain stores and warehouse outlets, we emphasized the true benefit that locally grown plants are often better acclimated to local gardens. The bigger stores buy transplants from as far away as Canada and Florida.

We also tugged at local heart strings, making mention of Glendale's status as one of the few family farms in the region, owned by Astriabs since 1917.

Influential Action

Making the most of Glendale's budget, we produced a series of small but striking newspaper ads. Each highlights a different aspect of the tremendous variety of plants for sale. Each ad has a similar look to gain recognition by repeated exposure. Each has the same copy - except for the featured plant - to drive home the unique selling proposition. Ads ran for six consecutive weeks in surrounding town's local weeklies.

In addition we mounted a season-long public relations campaign. Taking advantage of the lower cost of production and distribution of news releases, they were sent to a much broader range of media than can be reached by the print ads.

We landed coverage in two dailies serving our target area and in Milford's two weeklies -- one front page with a color photo. The Connecticut Post held one of our releases for two months, then ran it as a sidebar to their strawberry picking story. Glendale Farms still had plenty of plants to sell, so the story's June appearance provided an added, late season sales boost.

To increase wholesale business, Influential designed a two-step direct mail campaign to landscape architects and contractors in Fairfield and New Haven counties. The first piece is a letter and Glendale's wholesale inventory list in a promotional #10 envelope. The second piece is a follow-up postcard reinforcing key messages.

Staying on the theme of Glendale having the greater variety of plants, we got landscapers thinking about creating unique and outstanding plantings.

Our tag line was: How many colors can you choose from to create your Landscape Masterpieces this year?

The letter, envelope and postcard were illustrated with a painter's pallet of colors.

Influential Results

Glendale Farms had its best sales ever and best sales in a single weekend. Astriab made a second planting flower and vegetable seeds to make up for the inventory blow-out. His crew was working seven days a week during the peak season.

Visit Glendale's website. We didn't do it, but like it, and it lists many of the varieties for sale: 

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