Bright lights and the hustle and bustle of urban life typically define Manhattan, but a new Strongbow initiative is bringing a healthy dose of nature to the concrete jungle through the end of the year. As part of its Nature Remix campaign, which highlights the brand’s assortment of natural cider flavors, Strongbow is helping city dwellers connect with nature through a fully functional, floating orchard on the Hudson River. How do you like them apples?
The undertaking was made possible thanks to a strategic partnership with Swale, a floating food forest built on a barge that travels to piers around New York City offering educational programming and inviting residents to connect with nature by harvesting (or picking) herbs, fruits and vegetables for free. Despite its initial success, the future of the program was uncertain until Strongbow signed on as the official sponsor of Swale through 2017.
Structural work on the barge was completed over the winter and early spring, and by March, Strongbow and Swale teams were bringing in mounds of soil, gravel and rocks to create a park-like atmosphere, along with 400 assorted garden beds featuring perennial edible plants. Finally, eight apple trees were planted, officially transforming the space into a floating apple orchard.
Swale officially opened on May 3 with a launch event inspired by the Nature Remix campaign. In addition to sipping Strongbow ciders, attendees had the chance to explore the environment and learn about the brand’s artificial flavor- and color-free ciders, which include flavors like Honey and Orange Blossom. The launch also marked the start of Strongbow’s national seed initiative in which the brand will distribute over 100,000 sustainable basil and sage seed coasters to consumers across the country to encourage them to create their own “urban food oasis” at home.
A nature-themed LED sign, along with handcrafted branding elements like real wheelbarrows, apple crates and an apple press can be found aboard Swale, which will play host to a variety of events throughout the summer and fall, including lectures and movie screenings. Strongbow will serve as the alcohol of choice and provide product for each age-appropriate event.
“The thing that really makes sense for us is that we’ve been made from nature for over 125 years. There are a lot of products that seem like us, but that are made with artificial flavors or artificial colors that don’t have that root in nature. We’re made from nature and we want to make sure that our consumer knows that and this is our way of telling that story,” says Eric Markus, brand director at Strongbow. “Anyone can go on TV and make a claim about their product. But for us, we have a story and a purpose that really best comes to life when we tell it in person.” Agencies: Cloudfactory, Amsterdam; Current, Chicago.