JohnsonSheen Wins Gerber Blades Sweepstakes

Although Gerber Legendary Blades has done little advertising over the years, its new president’s marketing background was not lost on a Portland, Ore., ad community clamoring for new business.

Chad Vincent, who has worked at Heinz and Miller Brewing, joined Portland-based GLB, an upscale knife maker, in August. “As soon as word got out, I must have heard from 100 people,” Vincent said. “I was overwhelmed with port folios, presentations, letters welcoming me—you name it.”

One local agency, JohnsonSheen, stood out. “They seemed to understand our business and our objectives, so we hired them,” said Vincent. There was no formal review.

Vincent indicated last year that GLB would spend more on mar keting initiatives. The client, which had $50 million in sales last year, mainly to hunting and camping enthu siasts, is now expected to spend $3-5 million on a print campaign this spring.

JohnsonSheen’s director of business development, Peggy Long, said she contacted Vincent after hearing of his appointment.

“I just cold-called him,” said Long, who joined the 10-year-old agency a year ago. “I knew about his background, and I told him about the agency and how we’d like to position Gerber. I guess we just connected.”

Before joining GLB, Vincent was managing director at Heinz’s frozen-meals division, which includes the Weight Watchers line of frozen dinners. Before that, he had been at Miller Brewing for more than 10 years, rising to vice president overseeing the Asia Pacific market.

While his experience is with high-profile brands, Vincent said GLB enjoys a more intimate connection to its customers. The objective now is to take the brand to the next level.

“It is a successful company and a successful brand, but we have not talked to consumers in a relevant way,” said Vincent.

Added Long: “Instead of thinking of baby food when [consumers] hear the name [Gerber], we want to make it so they think of knives.”

GLB is owned by Fiskars Consumer Products in Madison, Wis., a division of Finnish firm Fiskars.