In 1934, Harry traveled to New York City and transformed the pear orchards he and his brother David owned into a successful business. He brought enough boxes of enormous and deliciously ripe Royal Riviera® Pears with him from Southern Oregon to fill his hotel room at the Waldorf. Reaching out to a select list of top executives, Harry sent complimentary pears along with a letter suggesting that they consider sending this exquisite fruit as a corporate gift. The idea was well received and soon the orders were flowing in.
Word of mouth about the pears spread, and there was a huge increase in business. Direct mail had proven to be a success for Harry & David, and the next step was national advertising. It was decided that Fortune magazine would be the best place to reach their target customers, and David’s casual remark, “Imagine Harry and me advertising our pears in Fortune!” became the headline. The ad was a huge hit and won an award in 1936 for best magazine advertisement.
That was just the beginning. In the years that followed, the brothers expanded their offerings to include the Fruit-of-the-Month Club® Collections, specialty food gifts and gourmet gift baskets.
You can read the whole story in Guy Lynn Sumner’s book How I Learned the Secrets of Success in Advertising.