BROOKSVILLE — The people at Accuform Signs realize that some of the workplace safety signs they manufacture can blend into the background and become as unnoticed as paint on the wall or dust on a baseboard.
How to grab and keep the attention of workers?
One strategy is to team up with the producers of one of cable television's most-watched reality shows, Duck Dynasty.
A two-year licensing agreement between A&E Networks and Accuform — a safety sign-maker based in the industrial park at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport — is the local firm's first foray into a branding partnership, said marketing director Brad Montgomery.
The agreement gives Accuform exclusive rights to create Duck Dynasty-themed products, which will start rolling off its assembly lines in April.
"Featuring pop culture icons like Duck Dynasty on workplace identification products is a unique way for workers to connect with their company's safety program," said Accuform CEO Wayne Johnson.
The TV series follows the Robertson family, owners of Duck Commander, a successful duck hunting supply company in the Louisiana bayou.
"There are folks out there that like reality TV and Duck Dynasty," Montgomery said.
"If they can relate — if we can capture the attention of that person even a split second more — it helps us and helps them go home safe each day."
Montgomery conceded Accuform officials paused when a Robertson family member made disparaging remarks about gay people in a magazine interview last year. But A&E dealt with the situation and a survey of Accuform's customers showed they were comfortable with giving the family a second chance, he reported.
As an example of transposing a Duck Dynasty symbol to one of the firm's products, Montgomery pointed to a sign bearing a human silhouette holding a placard with a safety message.
On the new sign, the silhouette is replaced with a Robertson. On another sign alerting workers to wear eye protection, a member of the Robertson family wears eye covering.
"These signs will get noticed," Montgomery said.
Use of Duck Dynasty images will not add to the price of Accuform's products. "Duck Dynasty will get a percentage but nothing that requires us to increase pricing on products," Montgomery said.
Montgomery noted that all products bearing Duck Dynasty representations will be approved by A&E and the Robertsons.
The licensing agreement allows for recontracting after two years.
Whether Duck Dynasty remains popular and whether the signs featuring the Robertson family continue to attract attention remain to be seen.
Regardless, it could lead to other, similar agreements, Montgomery said.
"This is a great test for us to see whether we can expand to other brands."
Beth Gray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.