For several years, Bailey Nurseries successfully used the First Editions brand as a vehicle to introduce new plants to the marketplace. It was a utilitarian brand of sorts. The plants were thoroughly tested before their introduction, and the marketing behind the brand was something growers and garden retailers understood. But there was somewhat of a disconnect with the consumer. The brand is made up of trees and shrubs, a purchase that the average consumer finds intimidating, according to research conducted by Bailey in North Carolina and Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

“The new introductions theme didn’t resonate with consumers, and they had all this doubt that went along with choosing trees and shrubs,” says Natalia Hamill, brand and business development manager at Bailey. “We needed to find a positioning that worked well at the consumer level and one that made buying trees and shrubs easier, without the stress, as well as fun.”

With millennials entering the home-buying phase of their lives, it was critical to connect with that audience. Bailey responded with new vibrant colors, pop culture references and quick, fun videos. Bailey’s fresh approach to the First Editions brand includes a bright purple pot and large tags that completely stray from the typical model and design that has dominated plant sales for years. Bailey chose more than 20 sayings that will appear on the front of the tags — quips that are intended to grab the consumers’ attention, such as “throw shade,” “totally yard-core,” “#shrubgoals” and “you grow girl.” The plant variety and care messages will appear on the other side of the tag.

“This is a chance to connect with our audience in a whole new way,” says Alec Charais, marketing and communications manager at Bailey.

The core foundation of the brand will not change, he adds.

“We’ll still move exceptional genetics into the marketplace through First Editions. But we’re dialing back those standard messages that have been in the marketplace for so long. We’re going to have a lot of fun with the product we’re offering,” he says.

The new campaign will first appear in retail during the summer of 2020, while a larger rollout will occur in spring 2021.

“The changeover will happen in stages throughout 2020 as growers go through their inventory of the old First Editions pots,” Charais explains.

Bailey dropped the former tagline “Selected with Success” and opted for a more modern “They Rock You Rule” message. The goal is to assure consumers that First Editions plants are hardworking, which means less hassle in the landscape, he says.

“We found out that the First Editions consumer doesn’t want to work too hard, but they do want a good-looking landscape. This campaign makes the purchase of trees and shrubs less intimidating,” he adds.

Videos will reinforce the new campaign and appear on subscription-based television such as Netflix, Hulu and Sling, which better serves their target customer, Charais explains. Videos also will appear on social media channels.

Get a peek at one of the videos here: youtu.be/-WC0JEC2umc.

The First Editions website will be revamped to meld with the new campaign.

“This is like nothing else a consumer has seen in a garden center before,” Hamill says.

The new campaign was officially introduced to the trade at the 2020 Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show.