John Deere taps 'ruralpolitan' population

CARY, NC: John Deere's Worldwide Commercial & Consumer Equipment Division (C&CE) made Imre Communications its AOR this week, giving the firm room to enhance campaign efforts as it never has before.

CARY, NC: John Deere's Worldwide Commercial & Consumer Equipment Division (C&CE) made Imre Communications its AOR this week, giving the firm room to enhance campaign efforts as it never has before.

Imre has worked with C&CE since 2004, and while its work with the company had been expanding, the firm was only handling products for small-property owners. With license to work on the entire property owner portfolio (which includes mowers and utility vehicles), the PR effort has shifted.

“We look at publications and consumers by their need and their hobbies versus by product line,” said Kris Welsh, account supervisor at Imre.

The firm is incorporating the recently coined “ruralpolitan” trend into its 2008 PR effort, emphasizing the needs of the property-care novice. ConsumerReports.org defined “ruralpolitan” in December 2007 as “a professional who has abandoned the urban dwelling for a rural lifestyle and lives on three acres or more, typically within 40 miles of a city” and says the term is being used by the “outdoor-power-equipment market.”

The campaign focuses on media relations for the new Z-Trak Estate Series, a pair of riding lawn mowers, and the annual promotion of the Ready-to-Mow Mobile Maintenance at-home inspection program, which it positions to make life easier for new owners lacking experience with property care and the requisite machinery.

Imre created a digital media kit and brought the equipment straight to reporters through one-on-one meetings. It recently visited Southern Progress Corporation, publishers of Coastal Living and other publications, and will head to Meredith, publishers of Better Homes & Gardens and other publications, in three weeks.

“We invite [reporters] to get on and give it a shot,” Welsh said. “[They] have to be able to communicate that this equipment is right for [their readers.]”

Jennifer Cox, manager, of PR and media for the C&CE division, sees no conflict between the “ruralpolitan” focus and the current housing slump.

“One of the big things going on is the ‘ruralpolitan' lifestyle,” she said. “We recognize that the dealers recognize that, [and] the products and services have been modified to reflect that. Even if [people] are staying at home, [they] are investing in their property; their property is an escape.”

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