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Ontario growers hoping cartoon character will help market strawberries

cartoon character will help market strawberries

April 18, 2008  By Marg Land

She’s cute. She’s cool. She’s one
of the hottest celebrities in the junior set, especially among girls.
And she’s coming to berry patches across Ontario this strawberry season.

Strawberry Shortcake 

She’s cute. She’s cool. She’s one of the hottest celebrities in the junior set, especially among girls. And she’s coming to berry patches across Ontario this strawberry season.

She’s Strawberry Shortcake and members of the Ontario Berry Growers’ Association had an opportunity to meet her during the OBGA’s recent annual meeting.

Venture Licensing of Canada, who represent the Strawberry Shortcake trademark in Canada, introduced the charming and fresh-faced cartoon character and a line of marketing tools available to OBGA members this season. The tools are being sold as part of a Berry Patch promotion kit, which provide growers with items such as posters, banners, buttons, flags, flyers, staff apparel, recipe cards, newspaper ad material, radio scripts, row markers and mini magazines for the kids, all featuring Strawberry Shortcake and her friends.

“Understanding the objectives of the OBGA, Strawberry Shortcake is the perfect partner to foster, encourage and promote the advancement of the berry industry in Ontario,” said Kevin Durkee, senior director of retail marketing and promotion with Venture.

Strawberry Shortcake was originally introduced in 1980 as a line of scented dolls and greeting cards. Soon, she was featured on a range of products and was seen on six different animated TV specials. Now, 20 years later, the product line has been reintroduced to a new generation of children. Strawberry Shortcake & Friends currently accounts for more than $500 million in retail sales worldwide, including dolls, books, toys, accessories and clothing.

Part of the success of Strawberry Shortcake is her appeal to parents and grandparents explained Durkee. The mothers of today were Strawberry Shortcake “girls” in the 1980s while the Strawberry Shortcake “moms” of that time are now grandmothers.

Kevin Durkee 

“In this time of a return to traditional values, and with her fresh, updated look, Strawberry Shortcake’s wholesome innocence, spunk and charm are every bit as appealing today as they were 20 years ago,” said Durkee.

“Today, more and more families are embracing traditional family experiences and are spending increased quality time together. This accounts for a dramatic increase in the popularity of pick-your-own berries, pumpkins and Christmas trees. This new trend is yours to build upon with a partnership with Strawberry Shortcake and her friends.”

Under the proposed Strawberry Shortcake promotion, purchase of the Berry Patch kit is available only to OBGA members. The kits will be scaleable in size so smaller and larger farms can get the items they need for both farm and wholesale/trade needs. As well, participating farms will be featured on a dedicated website. The site will also feature a searchable database plus recipes, berry information and children’s activities.

Durkee added that if growers wish, there is an opportunity to extend the Strawberry Shortcake promotion into raspberry and blueberry seasons; after all, Ms. Shortcake has lots of “berry-good” friends.

Under the promotion time line, OBGA members are invited to order Berry Patch kits this spring for delivery in May. The campaign and website are expected to be launched to the public in early June.

For more information on the Strawberry Shortcake promotion, you
can contact the OBGA at, 613-258-4587 or Venture Licensing of Canada at 416-443-0825, ext. 240.

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