If you are in the business of agritourism, how do you attract more visitors to your property?
An interesting programme based on Spookley the Square Pumpkin may now be coming to a farm shop or garden centre near you.
‘Spookley the Square Pumpkin’ was created by children’s author and lyricist Joe Troiano when his young son, Nicholas, asked him for a bedtime story – something not scary, something about pumpkins. The story is about Spookley, a square pumpkin, who is bullied by the round pumpkins until the storm arrives and Spookley ‘saves the day’ and at the same time teaches children the importance of diversity and tolerance.
The bedtime story became ‘The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin’, which went on to become a best selling children’s book which then developed into a series of books, movies, apps, songs, stage shows and merchandise based on Spookley and all of his friends on ‘Holiday Hill Farm’. In the US, Spookley is now the “Official Spokes-Pumpkin” for National Bullying Prevention Month in October.
So how does the Spookley franchise help your farm shop or garden centre attract more visitors?
Agritourism businesses are developing Spookley programmes that are particularly active in late September and during October to attract local customers and even partner with schools to attract more visitors to their ‘pumpkin patch’.
These businesses are using the rich content from the Spookley franchise to attract visitors and consumers through story-time readings, movie screenings and other events. Because of the message related to diversity and anti-bullying, the programme can be of interest to schools and become part of a school field trip.
There is also the additional revenue source of visitors purchasing associated merchandise. The programme in he US also offers inflatable ‘Spookley’ characters such as the one you can see here at Donnell Century Farm in the US.
There are even plush Spookley the Square Pumpkin plush toys available for sale as you can see below.
In 2012 Spookley the Square Pumpkin franchise opened in the UK with a farm in Yorkshire, Farmer Copley’s, a farm shop near Pontefract. A quick search online will show that a number of franchises operators are now opening across the UK and Ireland.
You can see a trailer for the DVD of Spookley the Square Pumpkin below – and you will find it available on many online sites.
In the US Spookley is the ‘Official Spokes Pumpkin’ for National Bullying Prevention Month in October and 100% of the profits from sales of his “DARE TO BE SQUARE” shirts are being donated to PACER’S National Bullying Prevention Centre.
Spookley the Square Pumpkin is also now being launched in Ireland – locations I know that are participating in the programme are Ashtree Garden Centre in Donegal and Scalpwood Nurseries in Kilternan South Dublin.
Interestingly, Scalpwood Nurseries are launching their Spookley programme in The Lab AIB on Dundrum 12 October 2013 with readings of the story to promote the programme opening at their nursery the following week.
If managed effectively the Spookely franchise model could bring a welcome boost to those Irish and UK agritourism businesses taking part especially as it has some great visual content available.
If I were one of the franchisees I would then look at how to create more visual content of my own to help promote the programme – this could help build awareness and attract more visitors.
But then the secret of success will be all about the execution of the experience and the follow-up relationship marketing that you implement to bring those new visitors back to you in the near future.
Note: for more information about Pumpkin and Halloween related events in Ireland read this article.
By the way, I checked out the opinions of some of my US friends and Melissa who is an author and ex-teacher and now writes a great blog about literacy and learning for kids recommends the book – she even referenced the app when it was launched in 2011, and Savanah coincidentaly published a lesson plan for using Spookley for a home schooling lesson plan this week.
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