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Agrimarketing : March 2009
ROSEPARADEFLOATSALUTESAG O by Gatsby Gottsch, RFD-TV n January 1, 2009, RFD-TV made historywhen it became the first television network to both feature a float in and broadcast the 120th Tournament of Roses Parade Live fromPasadena, CA. “RFD-TV and The Tournament of Roses Parade is a perfectmatch,” says RaquelGottsch, Director of Public Relations andMarketing of the 24-hour rural television network. “Our audience craves programming that is not only family-oriented, but also highlights everything our soil has to offer.The combination of flowers, seeds, and natural materials fromaround theworld forming these larger than life floats is absolutely awe-inspiring andmakes one feel proud to be part of rural America.” The timing could not have been better for this rural lifestyle and entertainment network to enter the Parade line-up. First of all, RFD-TV chose toworkwith Phoenix Decorating on the design of the float. Michelle Lofthouse, daughter of the founder of Phoenix and an avid fan of RFD-TV,worked on the design. This year’s Rose Parade theme, “Hats Off to Entertainment,” also provided the perfect opportu- nity for RFD-TV to showcase their newly added program, “HEE HAW,” at the highly publicized setting. “Wewere ecstaticwhenwewere told the parade themewas going to be ‘Hats Off to Entertainment,’” reports PatrickGottsch, RFD-TV Founder and President. “Michelle understood exactlywhat RFD-TV was all about, and her design hit the nail on the head.At that time,we were also about to announce the addition of “HEE HAW” to our weekly programming schedule… it seemed as if all of the starswere lining up.” PAYING TRIBUTE TO AG The RFD-TV “HEE HAW” float also paid tribute to theAmerican farmer and rancher.Decorated bymore than 200 FFA and 4-Hvolunteers, the 38 AgriMarketing s March 2009 The RFD-TV crewgathers around its float just prior to its debut in the Tournamentof Roses Parade. In the centerwearing the engineer’scap is the channel’sFounder and President Patrick Gottsch. Flanking himare his daughter’sRaquel and Gatsby Gottsch. floatwas ladenwith agricultural commodities fromacross the U.S. such as corn,wheat, and soybeans. Introduced by an 85-foot long, ani- mated and steam-spewing tractor, the float provided a snapshot of life in the country. Replicas of livestock such as a pink strawflower pig and a cotton- covered sheep surrounded the corn- field stage. Bringing up the rear of the floatwas the iconic red barn, out ofwhich countrymusic legends, Marty Stuart and Connie Smith fromthe “Marty Stuart Show” on RFD-TV,emerged. “Connie and I are both honored to be part of RFD-TV’s presentation at the Tournament of Roses Parade. What a great tradition,” saysMarty. “I amespecially honored to be saluting theAmerican farmer and rancher.RFD-TV’s support of rural people is one of the things Imost appreciate about the network. Everything RFD-TV represents feels like home tome.” True to “HEE HAW” fashion, these Grand Old OpryHall-of- Famers serenadedmillions of view- ers at home and turned the parade route into a scene reminiscent of a hoe down. “HEE HAW” clad RFD- TV employees and programmers rode on the float and performed line dances such as the electric slide and tush push to a hand-clapping, toe- tapping crowd. Driving the steamengine down Orange Grove Boulevard in a pair of overallswas Patrick Gottsch himself. Joining himon the floatwere his two daughters, Raquel andGatsby Gottsch, also employees of the company. MORE THAN PAYS Although the experience camewith a hefty price tag of over $300,000, RFD-TV says the exposure they received theweek leading up to the parademore than paid for its cost. OnNewYear’s Eve, the “KTLA Morning News” chose to run a story