LANCASTER — The owners of Fuller’s Sugarhouse consider themselves to be simple farming folks, a New Hampshire version of Ma and Pa Kettle.
Google borrowed the image of the maple-syrup makers to promote its “Grow With Google” initiative. Ads in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, The Economist and The New Yorker have been boosting the company’s reach outside the Granite State.
Dave and Patti Fuller knew something was brewing as early as January, when Google sent a Boston-based photographer to take a picture of the couple that has since appeared in the small business campaign. In late October, the first ad appeared in the New York Times, Dave Fuller said.
The first evidence of Google’s campaign emerged when someone from New York called about buying a bunch of syrup, Fuller said during a Dec. 13 interview.
“This is a scam for sure,” he remembered thinking, because “I’m not buying a full-page ad in the New York Times,” he said. But Google did.
Fuller’s business office and retail store is just north of the Route 2/Route 3 traffic circle in Lancaster. In 2002, the fourth-generation sugar maker received both the Carlisle Trophy from the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association for “Best Maple Syrup Producer in New Hampshire,” as well as the title of “Best Maple Syrup in the World” from the North American Maple Syrup Council.
Now more of the world knows.
Dave Fuller stands behind the counter of Fuller’s Sugarhouse in Lancaster. The business is being featured in an international ad campaign by Google.
“The same technology that helps you find what you’re looking for is also helping millions of local businesses grow and succeed” says an ad in the Dec. 16 issue of The New Yorker, which features a Google search result for the Fullers’ business. The ad touts the internet search giant’s economic impact.
According to a study released this year by the company (economicimpact.google.com), Google’s search and advertising tools “helped provide $671 million of economic activity for New Hampshire businesses, website publishers, and nonprofits” and provided $1.18 million of free advertising to New Hampshire nonprofits through the Google Ad Grants program.
According to Google, 4,900 New Hampshire businesses, website publishers and nonprofits benefited from using Google’s advertising tools, Google Ads and AdSense, with the study casting spotlights on Fuller’s, Anchor Line video productions of Portsmouth, Gourmetgiftbaskets.com of Exeter and Amherst Label of Milford.
In May, Google hosted a small-business summit at its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., to which it invited representatives from each state, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. Patti Fuller and Pam Sullivan, president of Concord-based Sullivan Creative, which has worked with Fuller’s Sugarhouse since 2014 to build and expand its brand, especially online, attended the summit.
A two-page inside cover ad from the Dec. 2/Dec. 9 issue of Time magazine features Lancaster’s Fuller’s Sugarhouse in a promotion for Google’s small-business services.
Using Google Analytics, which is something that it has been doing for about a decade, lets Fuller’s identify customers, she said, while other tools let it tailor a customized online message to them, to make changes on the fly to ongoing marketing, and to analyze in real time who is replying to the message and how well the message is working.
Maple syrup, Sullivan said, “is not just for pancakes anymore and online, there are tons of people who are using it,” among those in “foodie market” cities like Austin, Texas, Boulder, Colo., and San Francisco, which Fuller’s identified with Google tools and then successfully targeted.
In Dave Fuller’s view, the Google campaign featuring him and Patti’s business is about “Ma & Pa Kettle using Google tools and I joke about that.” In the now oft-published photo of him and his wife, “I see a couple of dinosaurs,” who nonetheless have a very good grasp on their bottom line, said Fuller.
This year, Fuller’s Sugarhouse had nearly twice as many online orders on Cyber Monday than during all of Cyber Week in 2018, Fuller said. The Google campaign also brought a special moment of humility.
After the first ad appeared, “We had a perfect stranger send us an e-mail saying the picture of us is so genuine,” said Dave Fuller, “and that is who Patti and I are.”