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Agrimarketing : November December 2006
28 AgriMarketing November/December 2006 Uncharted territory, although exciting, can sometimes bring challenges to its pioneers. AVICTA® Complete Pak, a first-of-its-kind product, forced the Syngenta marketing team to delve into unfamiliar terrain and Think out of the box to achieve a successful launch. The launch began with a five-phase communications plan that served as a roadmap for the next 18 months. The campaign featured a slow and strategic release of infor- mation --- first positioning the brand, then launching the brand name, building excitement, educating and ending with the official launch. To uncover the best geographies and demographics to market the product, Syngenta called upon Directions Research, a Cincinnati-based market research firm. Directions Research helped Syngenta identify and target the estimated four million acres of cotton infested with nematodes. This sizable market was divided into two segments --- those who currently treat the acres for nematodes with competitive products and those who do not currently treat for cotton nematodes but do have pressure in their fields. "The tagline for AVICTA Complete Pak, Think out of the box, was suggested by our Technical Manager, Dr. David Long, during a branding meeting," says Commu- nications Manager Jodie McClement. "Traditional nema- tode control methods use hopper boxes to distribute the chemical. AVICTA Complete Pak, which is delivered on the seed, threatens to make those hopper boxes obsolete. We were asking the growers to think beyond their hopper boxes and look to new, more innovative alternatives. Therefore the tagline Think out of the box had a strong double-entendre." THINKING OUT OF THE BOX While the tagline was created initially to describe the product, it quickly became the motto for the entire mar- keting team. Think out of the box, which appeared below the product logo in almost all instances, energized and inspired the marketing team to achieve unique and cre- ative ideas to launch this distinctive product concept. Incorporated into every facet of the launch, thinking out of the box broadened thought processes and reinvented the traditional product introduction. With AVICTA Com- plete Pak being the first new product choice for nematode control in more than 30 years, Syngenta knew it needed to generate a big splash. "Building professional relationships and gaining sup- port from nematologists were vital to the success of AVICTA Complete Pak," says Kerry Henderson, Vice President with Gibbs & Soell Public Relations. "To gain professional and technical input, Syngenta held two nematologist summits. These summits were a forum for nematologists to present their research on this product from the very beginning. With their insight, we were able to gain valuable information that contributed to the suc- cess of our launch." SHOWCASE PLOT TOUR "The timing of the product registration in the first quarter of 2005 gave Syngenta the unique opportunity to get growers and consultants out in numerous fields to see the results of the product on growers' farms," McClement says. "To showcase these grower plots, we embarked on the AVICTA Complete Pak Cotton Belt Road Show in the summer of 2005." More than 3,000 save-the-date cards and invitations featured the theme "Planting the Seed for a New Way of Thinking." This encouraged a new way of thinking about nematode control and supported the message that AVICTA Complete Pak is a novel alternative to tradi- tional nematode control options. Print, outdoor, radio and Internet advertisements ran throughout the summer to tease readers about the upcoming availability of the product. The ads, which gradually released more information from June to Sep- tember 2005, focused on the cotton industry changing for- ever because of this three-part product. They were very successful, helping secure 68% brand awareness. While important whenever a new product enters the market, education becomes a necessity when the new product covers an area unfamiliar to many in the industry. PRODUCT OF THE YEAR COMMUNICATIONS PLAN: PLANTING THE SEED FOR A NEW WAY OF THINKING by Julie Richards, Gibbs & Soell Public Relations (more on page 30) Distinctive triangle-shaped launch kits caught the eye of recipients while also demonstrating the three-way protection offered by AVICTA Complete Pak and reinforcing the product tagline, Think out of the box.