- Associated Press - Saturday, October 4, 2014

SUMTER, S.C. (AP) - Three Sumter companies, working in conjunction with a fruit company out west, have come together to encourage children to eat healthful foods.

Now the campaign they created, “Snack Like A Super Hero” is a finalist in the 2014 Produce Marketing Association Impact Awards.

“Everybody loves super heroes,” said Paul Tomlinson, founder and owner of Waxed Designs LLC. “The whole campaign is about promoting healthy living. It can be hard to get kids interested in that. There are a lot of bad food choices out there. So if we can get them excited about a product and at the same time they choose healthy food as a result, I think it’s a win-win for everyone.”

His partners in this venture are Team Image Marketing and Sumter Packing Corporation, and the client is Sage Fruit. The current products are pop-up bins for apples and a cardboard stand-up that is displayed alongside the fruit.

Both feature Spider-Man right now, but the slogan, “Snack Like A Super Hero,” will work with other Marvel characters, too, Tomlinson said.

“It was one of several ideas I sent them, and it works for everything,” he said.

The process began when Sage Fruit contacted Tomlinson about creating a campaign using Marvel characters to promote healthful habits. He designed the packaging and came up with the slogan. The stand-up even includes a voice motion sensor.

“They sent me a whole selection of chips, and I pieced the audio together,” Tomlinson said. “It turned out pretty well, and in my opinion, is one of the cooler things we’ve done here.”

Once Sage Fruit gave the go-ahead, the design information was sent to Team Image Marketing. That company works with Sumter Packaging to get the design dye cut and the images attached to the corrugated cardboard for display.

“The neat thing about a customer like Dan (Krewson, president of the marketing business) is he pushes you,” said Ben DeSollar, president of Sumter Packaging. “When you stretch your capabilities in one area, you can push everywhere else in a creative way, and it allows us to be a lot better with all our customers.”

It’s an honor for the campaign his company worked on to be nominated, DeSollar said, and he likes the mission of this one.

“We’ve won awards in the past, but we’re very excited out this one,” he said. “I have kids, and they eat healthy at home. But it’s nice to have something that reinforces that out there.”

Once Sumter Packaging completed its step in the process, the product was sent back to Team Image for assembly and shipping.

This was the first time the company installed a voice chip, Krewson said.

“This opportunity is good for us,” he said. “If this works out, it will add another dimension to what we do.”

He, too, is pleased with the nomination and the campaign’s goal.

“It always feels good to be recognized, (and) I think all children should try to eat healthy,” Krewson said. “In this day and age, that’s important, to get children eating apples, pears and so forth instead of candy bars.”

The pop-up bins and displays are then shipped to supermarkets to do their jobs - hold and advertise Sage Fruit produce.

The three Sumter companies have also worked together on products for Smithfield, Bing Energy Drinks and Ekrich through the years, Krewson said.

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Information from: The Sumter Item, http://www.theitem.com

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