I knew we’d made the big time when, in 1998, one of our customers showed up at his job dressed like a jar of Christopher Ranch Chopped Garlic! His name was Cohen and, granted, the occasion was Halloween and he worked in a restaurant (how apropos) but when I saw the photo of his costume, I knew we had arrived…
Christopher Ranch’s link with Halloween actually began a few years earlier. In 1992, Halloween was getting so popular that an article in the Wall Street Journal declared, “it could outpace New Year’s Eve as a party and retail event!” The news inspired Christopher Ranch to take advantage of the centuries old connection between garlic and Dracula (Halloween’s superstar) to transform garlic into a national Halloween party food! The idea was a (super) natural and quite irresistible. We wanted to make garlic synonymous with Halloween… just like turkey and Thanksgiving.
Ideas, plans and designs came together in June of 1993, and Christopher Ranch unveiled its “How To Have a Halloween Garlic Party” promotion at a gala dinner in New York City. The event was originally planned to celebrate the one-year anniversary of our New Jersey Division, but guests were also introduced to a pallet size display of orange garlic cartons imprinted with bats and garlic-o-lanterns. The cartons were partnered with Halloween themed recipes and header cards featuring Count Chris (our garlic-loving version of Drac) and his spooky entourage. The headers touted “Garlic, It’s the Life of the Party”, a statement that also reflected guests’ enthusiastic response to the promotion.
The scariest part of our campaign, however, was trying to get retail stores interested in throwing a Halloween “party” in the produce department. To assist in this, our PR firm at the time, Caryl Saunders Associates, created a media blitz of party menus, recipes, serving suggestions, product info and garlic folklore aimed at educating our customers on the allure and versatility of garlic. The information went out to newspapers, magazines and selected radio and TV talk show hosts. Christopher Ranch followed up the blitz with a hands-on display of our Halloween promotion at the Produce Marketing Association Convention that October. Yours truly was in attendance, dressed to kill as Garlicia, Countess of Cloves – but trying to scare up business while wearing fangs is haunting, I mean daunting, to say the least.
Over the years, our Halloween promotion has evolved and, like Halloween, it endures because of people’s timeless attraction to fun, fright and good food. Last year, 50 stores participated in our annual Halloween display contest, and this year’s entries are now rolling in. We’re looking forward to seeing what they can do with a little imagination and lots of CR fresh California garlic, braids, jars and peeled garlic. Special thanks to all the participants, past and present, for being our garlic boo-sters!
Happy Halloween, ya’ll! Go treat yourself to some Christopher Ranch California Garlic – it’ll keep the vampires away – and it won’t rot your teeth!
P.S. I’d like to send a shout-out to Cohen, wherever he is, for his unique demonstration of support back in ‘98. Hope he doesn’t mind my sharing his photo with the rest of the world.