Ian Robson

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3 staples and a whole lot of love

At That Media Thing, we are in the business of telling our client’s stories and connecting them to their audience.

Shining a light on the fantastic things that our clients do makes it all the more impressive when a company makes us stand up and take notice of how they market themselves…

The Field Notes difference

One such company is Field Notes Brand, a pocket notebook/calendar/office supplies company based in Chicago, Illinois.

What started out as one man (Aaron Draplin, co-founder of Field Notes) sending a hundred or so handmade memo books to friends (including Jim Coudal, the other co-founder), quickly snowballed into the Field Notes Brand behemoth we see today.

It took Aaron and Jim a week from this first mailout to give birth to this unstoppable juggernaut of a brand.

It’s a company that perfectly marries the beauty of practical pocket notebooks from a bygone era with the sophisticated design and printing technologies available today. And it’s that amazing blend of two generations that seems to elevate them above similar companies.

Don’t believe me? Let me talk to you about their most recent seasonal memo book release…

Work that goes ‘above and beyond’

Field Notes memo books originally used ‘packing brown wrap’ paper stock on the cover with standard white paper innards, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, a slightly updated version of these books is still available from FN today. But as time went on the guys in Chicago began to experiment with different colours and weights of paper stock and so ‘colour editions’ were born.

These experimental and often vibrant editions proved incredibly popular with FN’s customers and so they got into the habit of releasing a new edition every season (with an accompanying short film, I might add). Now called ‘Quarterly Editions’, these drops bring with them immense excitement, as people wonder what the chosen theme will be. These have ranged from the County Fair edition (50 individual designs to celebrate ‘those 50 states’) to the Snowblind edition (a white cover that turns blue in the sunlight).

This ‘above and beyond’ approach to craft and marketing is what separates them from any other notebook company you care to mention.

The most recent edition is called ‘Three Missions’.

“Fifty years ago, America was in the midst of an historic quest to land a man on the Moon,” says Field Notes. “Our 39th Quarterly Release, the ‘Three Missions’ Edition, celebrates the programs that got us there.”

With that in mind, Field Notes produced three memo books, each one depicting a different US space program that ultimately led to Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon. As well as the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo-inspired books, they included three ‘Punch-Out and Assemble’ Mission-Specific Crew Capsule Models. 

Pretty cool, no??

The art of overdelivery

And whilst for many companies that would already be going above and beyond, Field Notes literally wanted to take the seasonal release above and beyond.

“We decided to mount a ‘Punch-Out and Assemble’ Apollo Crew Capsule to a rod. Connect that rod to a box containing a camera and GPS tracking unit. Attach the box to a parachute and a big weather balloon filled with helium, and then send the whole rig up into the sky. Easy, right?”

The footage they captured is both breathtaking and completely bonkers when you again consider what they are using it to sell. See the full story here.

This ‘above and beyond’ approach to craft and marketing is what separates them from any other notebook company you care to mention. It’s why I’m sitting here, writing this article, using a Field Notes pen, in a California County Fair edition memo book.

If you’ve been inspired by this innovative approach to audience engagement, talk to That Media Thing about the story you want to tell to your customers email contact@thatmediathing.com