Launching a New Brand with Pixies and Social Media
As if the January freezes weren’t enough to keep him busy, FFVA
producer member Gary Wishnatzki launched Wish Farms, a new consumer
brand, in the new year.
Wishnatzki Farms is Florida’s largest strawberry
shipper-grower, but it also handles bell peppers, squash, cherry and
grape tomatoes and more. Today, when those products are shipped to
supermarkets, they carry the new Wish Farms label, which features Misty
the Garden Pixie.
Gary Wishnatzki of Wishnatzki Farms recently launched a new brand
for the company, Wish Farms.
The ambitious endeavor began about a year and half ago, when
Wishnatzki hired Tampa-based marketing agency ChappellRoberts to conduct
consumer research on fresh produce brands.
“It turned out that people didn’t recognize very many brands
of fresh produce, and few could recall our brand,” Wishnatzki
said. “Those who did couldn’t spell it.”
The company decided to establish itself with a brand that would be
easier to remember – and easier to spell.
“Our goal was to create a brand that would make a connection to
consumers and be noticed on grocery store shelves,” said
Wishnatzki. “We used focus group results to guide the development
of the new Wish Farms brand name and its pixie mascot, who I named Misty
the Garden Pixie.”
NOT YOUR ORDINARY PIXIE
“As the centerpiece of our brand launch, I asked
ChappellRoberts to produce a series of videos that we could post on
YouTube,” said Wishnatzki.
The humorous videos feature two pixies in a variety of scenes in the
fields and packinghouse. The more seasoned pixie is showing his
“greener” counterpart the ropes, and both admire Misty the
Garden Pixie, from afar. The videos can be seen at www.YouTube.com/WishFarms. Wishnatzki's son, Nick, plays Pete the
veteran pixie and actor Ben Daniele plays the underling.
“I actually came up with the idea of the video, but
ChappellRoberts wrote the script and convinced me to portray Misty
through the eyes of other pixie characters. I loved the concept and the
chance to cast my son,” said Wishnatzki. “I
know… a little nepotism there, but it worked.”
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
In addition to the YouTube videos, Wishnatzki Farms developed a
strategic plan to ensure widespread exposure.
“Social media is an important part of our marketing mix because
it allows us to bring the brand to life in environments where consumers
can interact with us,” Wishnatzki said. “We have been
receiving and responding to letters and e-mails from satisfied consumers
for years. Now, reaching out through social media expands our ability to
build relationships with the people who buy our products.”
The social media strategy and brand launch plan included
“teaser” campaigns to build anticipation with ads in grocery
store publications, Facebook posts, and e-mail blasts to thousands, as
well as news releases and media outreach.
Before the formal announcement, Wishnatzki also kept his friends,
family and business associates engaged through personal video postings
on the company’s Web
site, and on its Facebook
fan page and on its YouTube Channel.
The company’s Web site, blog, Facebook page, and YouTube videos
all link together to reinforce the brand message and increase consumer
involvement and awareness of Wish Farms.
CONNECTING WITH THE COMMUNITY
To help kick-start viewership of the videos locally, Wishnatzki
personally handed out 2,000 pounds of strawberries to students at the
University of South Florida. Misty the Garden Pixie, Pixie Pete, and
several warehouse worker pixies were there to ask students to watch the
videos online. For each video view, Wishnatzki Farms pledged $1 to the
First Generation Matching Grant Scholarship fund.
“It’s a scholarship program that assists any student who
is the first generation of their family to go to college,” said
Wishnatzki. “And the $10,000 we raised will be matched by the
state of Florida.”
Wishnatzki also is building its online community through its
FreshQC™ program, which allows consumers to offer feedback to the
farmer. Strawberry pickers place stickers asking, “How’s my
picking?™” on each package they pick. Consumers can then go
online and provide their feedback.
“We had about 2,000 comments since we began the FreshQC program
last year, and we hope to convert at least 20 percent of those into
Facebook fans,” said Wishnatzki.
The company also holds its annual Strawberry Pro-Am tennis tournament
in February. Proceeds this year will go to the Redlands Christian
Migrant Association’s capital campaign for building classrooms at
its Wimauma Academy.
“We’re excited because this is our fifth year, and the
event has grown beyond anything we ever imagined,” Wishnatzki
In the past, proceeds from the fundraiser also
have benefitted USF’s migrant scholarship fund, established by
He’s also excited about a special event his company made
possible for the Florida Strawberry Festival. It’s sponsoring Farm
Worker Appreciation Day on the second weekend of the festival.
“We’re going to distribute tickets to about 5,000 farm
workers that will allow them to get into the festival for free,”
said Wishnatzki. “We’re doing this in conjunction with the
Florida Strawberry Growers Association. Our growers and our company
workers will receive more than 1,200 tickets. Other growers can purchase
tickets at deeply discounted prices so they can include their workers in
the program, too. It should be a good thing and hopefully it’ll
catch on and become a popular weekend for farm workers,” said
ABOUT WISHNATZKI FARMS
Wishnatzki Farms owns more than 2,500 acres of farmland in Manatee
and Hillsborough counties. In addition, it represents more than 1,000
acres that it does not own directly. The company ships about 3 million
flats of strawberries and 2 million packages of vegetables a year.
Look for the Wish Farms brand in supermarkets now and if you’re
on Facebook, be sure to become a fan of Wishnatzki Farms.