Combines and PR CampaignsFriday, January 6th, 2012
It’s a common occurrence for the lines between our work lives and personal lives to blur – especially for us “creative” folk always looking to translate a cool concept into a potential client campaign. That’s exactly what happened to me while I was home visiting family in the Quad Cities over Thanksgiving.
We stopped by one of the John Deere buildings to see a full-size model of the company’s new S-Series Combine made entirely out of canned, bagged and boxed food. While most people thought, “Wow – what a cool sculpture,” I thought “Wow – what a great PR stunt.”
Building a replica of a new product out of an unusual material is not a novel idea for a launch campaign; what stood out to me about John Deere’s Project “CAN DO” is just how well it tied into the company’s mission and values and paid homage to its key customers.
The structure – a whopping 16 feet tall, 80 feet long, 60 feet wide and weighing 170 tons – was made entirely of packaged food bought from local HyVee grocery stores. Once disassembled, the food will be given to a local food bank and has the potential to feed about 150 area families for one year.
Thus, not only does the “edible” combine call attention to the new product (and trust me, it was a hot visitor spot while I was in town), it celebrates farmers (Deere customers) and helps to feed the hungry (what farmers care about).
John Deere also extended the project online with behind-the-scenes construction photos, interviews and time-lapse videos, along with an interactive photo mosaic on Facebook that allows fans to design their own can to become part of a master collage.
(Photos can be found on www.deere.com.)