APN ARM (Australian Regional Media) developed the Free Seeds Giveaway in the third quarter of 2014. The concept was created with the core objectives of increasing retail newspaper sales across its two-week promotional period, inspiring excitement in the community and engaging major retailers.

Timed to coincide with the beginning of spring, the campaign was launched across 12 key regional markets throughout Queensland and New South Wales. The Free Seeds Giveaway saw readers collecting daily newspaper tokens, which could be exchanged at their local news agent for a packet of seeds. Inspired by the season of growth and rejuvenation, the campaign offered a different variety of flower and herb seed each day.

A partnership with well-known seed supplier Mr. Fothergill’s strengthened the campaign, with seeds delivered to news agencies two weeks before launch. APN ARM utilised its extensive print and online network to generate excitement in readers and retailers alike, with social networking proving particularly successful in encouraging engagement from keen local gardeners. Attention-grabbing point-of-sale displays were achieved across the footprint, and a basil-scented front page ran across all 12 markets on launch day.

Junior gardeners were included with the Sunflower Colouring-In Competition, timed to coincide with the giveaway of sunflower seeds. School groups created herb gardens which were featured in the newspaper, and The Toowoomba Chronicle had great success linking the promotion to their coverage of Toowoomba’s popular Carnival of Flowers.

Newspapers in the Lismore area secured the services of popular Gardening Australia television host Costa Georgiadis, who spoke at news agency events and was extremely well received.

The Free Seed Giveaway achieved massive community engagement and the development of a genuine rapport with local gardening enthusiasts and budding green thumbs. It delivered an impressive 1.5% improvement in the retail circulation line over the promotional period.