Mary Bullwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

Retaining and creating new jobs in the Humboldt County forest products industry is the overall goal of a marketing strategy that will include television advertising slated to begin next week.

The Forest Products Initiative is a three-year collaboration among Humboldt Redwood Company, California Redwood Company and the Humboldt County Economic Development Division. Key to the campaign is a $750,000 grant from the Headwaters Fund.

Both HRC and CRC will match the $750,000 Headwaters Fund grant amount over the same three-year period.

”The television advertisements are an attempt to paint a comparison between strong, natural redwood and artificial plastic composite (materials),” said Carter Welch, vice president of marketing for HRC and Mendocino Redwood Company. The ads will not only point out the differences between the two materials, but will promote the positive aspects of using redwood for decking purposes.

Welch said he really appreciates the commitment of the Headwaters Fund grant for this campaign. “It brought together two companies to collaborate and do what is right for the entire industry. It has definitely fostered a spirit of collaboration,” he said.

Humboldt County Economic Development Coordinator Jacqueline Debets agreed. “Redwood is a niche, high value product for Humboldt County,” she said. “We lead the forest products industry in the state. This campaign will present redwood to the California consumer, as the premier decking material that it is, and that will sustain jobs in Humboldt County.


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Increased demand generated by the campaign in the decking category is expected to have a “halo effect” on other redwood categories such as fencing and garden accessories.

The commercials will be aired during March Madness, the Masters, and major league baseball games. Humboldt County television viewers will probably not see the commercials until the beginning of May, and then can look for the ads in televised San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics baseball games.

Welch said the comparison ads will be running statewide from April through August of this year. The marketing strategy also envisions online advertising “mostly in the Bay Area and southern California,” Welch said. That piece of the campaign is still being organized.

The ads were created by the San Francisco-based advertising agency of barrettSF. “We are really appreciative to have a creative team of this caliber,” Welch said.

Redwood is also part of the Humboldt Made brand and will be included in plans to highlight many local products at Sunset Magazine's 16th Annual Celebration Weekend on June 1 and June 2 in Menlo Park. Last year, more than 23,000 people attended the event.

The Forest Product Initiative will partner with Humboldt County at the show and take advantage of the opportunity to showcase many Humboldt County products. “It's a natural fit,” Welch said. “The Humboldt County lifestyle is strong and natural, consistent with the qualities of redwood.”

Photo caption:

Photo by Mary Bullwinkel/Beacon

Redwood logs ready for milling at Humboldt Redwood Company's Scotia sawmill.