TenTonToys, a division of Evergreenriver, was introducing a new toy, the HANDTRUX® Backhoe. The HANDTRUX® Backhoe model is a unique sandbox-sized dirt machine that looks and works just like the Big Iron. It has the patented “handraulic” power grip hidden inside each machine. The company wanted to create public awareness and also attract investors. The challenge was how to have the toy stand out, to capture consumer awareness and to attract the interest of investors.
Strategic Vision developed a public relations and branding campaign based on two concepts:
- Because it was made in America, the product was cheaper and of a higher quality than if it had been made overseas.
- Parents, children, and investors would be captivated by the unique personality of the creator of the HANDTRUX® Backhoe, Ernest Autumn Van Den Heuvel. He could speak to all of these diverse audiences in a way they could understand.
The HANDTRUX® Backhoe was highlighted on “FOX & Friends,” where Ernest Autumn Van Den Heuvel gave a live product demonstration of the toy with the hosts in a giant specially constructed sandbox. The toy was featured in All You magazine as one of the “must-have” toys of the summer. Creative Play Retailer magazine featured the HANDTRUX® Backhoe. Van Den Heuvel and the HANDTRUX® Backhoe were featured in a cover story in Investor Uprising magazine and also on Bloomberg Radio. The toy received numerous write-ups in newspapers and magazines because of the “made in America” angle and Van Den Heuvel’s unique personality.
The HANDTRUX® Backhoe achieved distribution in the United States and Canada.