FARMERS may recognise the granules, but just in case you missed them, the eye-catching images in Summit Fertilizers' Partners in Growth advertising campaign are made from its own product - Summit fertilisers.
Different fertiliser granule colours and sizes were used to replicate tonal ranges, including light and shade, of photographs to create three unique images used to convey Summit's core messages of service, partnership and technology.
The Partners in Growth campaign featuring the images made from fertiliser debuted on September 26 in a four-page gloss wrap around section two of Farm Weekly and the images have appeared in rotation in advertisements inside Farm Weekly each week since.
A video clip which shows the innovative way the images were created from fertiliser granules, features on Summit Fertilizers' web page.
Summit Fertilizers' executive manager marketing and sales, Frank Ripper, said such a novel and innovative approach was not quite what was expected when he and marketing manager Ben Cook first approached Gatecrasher advertising agency in Subiaco about a campaign to remind farmers of the value of Summit Fertilizers and to order their fertiliser early for next season.
"Basically, our brief to the agency was we wanted to emphasise the quality of our products and the science behind them - we spend a great deal of time and money on scientific research to create and quantify the performance of our products and we're proud of that," Mr Ripper said.
"We also wanted to emphasis the relationships our area managers have with their clients, the services they provide - that's part of our story of who we are - and their role in adding value to the transaction - increasing crop values for their clients is what they are about.
"Based on that brief, the agency came back with three choices."
Traditionally, fertiliser advertising is based on staple imagery of farmer and adviser standing in a waist high, visually interesting crop - like canola in flower - to demonstrate value, with farm dog and ute optional, Mr Ripper explained.
Two of the options were for fairly standard campaigns.
"But the third choice was extremely innovative - take the traditional farmer, adviser, dog, ute and crop elements, add in a test tube to represent science and depict the imagery using Summit's extensive range of granular fertilisers to produce the colours and range of textures required," Mr Ripper said.
"We decided to take a risk and go with the innovative option.
"It took samples from almost all of our range of granular product to get not just the different colours, but the different shades, to create the images."
Mr Ripper said samples of 21 of Summit's fertilisers were provided to give photographer Luke Carter Wilton sufficient range of material to work with.
The samples included a custom Copper Sulphate that Summit supplies to only a handful of clients - it provided the blue for the Summit Fertilizers logo on the shirt of the Summit representative leaning on the fence.
Muriate of Potash from its pasture range of fertilisers provided the reds for the dog and other elements, Sulphate of Ammonia, Maxam and Superphosphate provided shades of grey and Urea, the bright white for skies, shirts, ute and test tube.
Some of the other fertilisers provided to blend in to get just the right shade of colour included MAPSZC, DAPSZC, Vigour, Gusto, Pasture, MAP, DAP, TSP, Granulated Sulphate of Potash, Granulated Sulphate of Ammonia, Selenium, Kieserite, Boronate, Agsul 90 and Iron Sulphate.
You might recognise some of them, if you study the images closely.
Mr Ripper said Summit also provided two area managers as models for the images.
The Summit representative leaning in the fence is Brett Beard, area manager for the Moora region and the tall man talking to the farmer in the field is Northam area manager Brayden Noble.
An agronomist with a degree in agricultural science and a Fertcare accredited adviser, Mr Beard has been with Summit since 2008 and looks after farmers in Moora, Gingin, Victoria Plains, Chittering and Dandaragan shires.
A West Australian Football League Swan Districts player and the club's leading goal kicker last year, Mr Noble also has a degree in agricultural science and worked in Summit's field research team for three years before becoming the area manager covering Northam, Cunderdin, Dowerin, Goomalling, Toodyay and York shires.
"I think Brett and Brayden might have copped a bit of good-natured stick from clients who recognised them as the ones depicted in granular fertiliser," Mr Ripper said.
Carter Wilton, who grew up in Perth and worked as a professional photographer in Paris and London for many years before returning to Perth in 2012, said he enjoyed the challenge of creating realistic images in granular fertiliser.
"I absolutely loved it, it was a bit of a passion project for me," Mr Wilton said of creating Summit's Partners in Growth campaign images.
He started with a day trip out into the Wheatbelt to photograph some background scenery and farm elements in the Southern Brook area between Northam and Goomalling.
Then, the people and dog were photographed in the studio and the individual elements brought together digitally and arranged on computer into the three images for the campaign.
A computer program was then used to reduce some of the detail and produce tonal representations which became the templates for selecting the different fertiliser granules to construct the final images.
Initially, Mr Wilton said an attempt was made to create an actual fertiliser picture by sticking granules on the printed template, but that proved too time consuming.
"The budget wouldn't cover the time that would have taken so we had to find another way," he said.
"I spread the different granules into trays, based on colours and tonal qualities, and then photographed each tray from directly above and lit with a soft, even light.
"We uploaded those photographs onto computer and used a program to layer them to build up the digital images.
"It was still quite laborious, it took two to three days to create the images - it was very much a hand-crafted process," Mr Wilton said.
Gatecrasher creative director and art director Lori Canalini explained the idea of using fertiliser granules to create images to sell fertiliser came about when agency staff visited Summit's Kwinana depot to learn about the product as a first step to creating a successful advertising campaign.
"Piles of mountain-high fertiliser in a variety of colours and textures were being loaded onto the back of road trains," Mr Canalini said of the guided tour with Mr Ripper and Mr Cook.
"Running our hands through the various products, it amazed us how light and consistent each granule was - we were told the consistent size was for better storage and handling, less clogging in the machinery and more even spread in the field," he said.
"But, for us, it struck us immediately that the product was far more refined than we expected and in fact, was very photogenic.
"It came in a variety of colours, textures and sizes, which we found much more interesting than we could have imagined.
"This initial impression gave us the idea for our campaign approach - to use the product itself to create a series of unique images to help tell the Summit story.
"It quickly occurred to us that the product itself could be the star of the new campaign."
It has been described as a brilliant idea that was extremely well executed which has become an innovative and novel approach to marketing fertiliser for next season.
It might just grow on farmers.