Surtex 2013: Lesson #2

Lesson #2: Marketing works, so just bite the bullet and do it.  And speaking of biting …

Every year, a few months before May, we think about our Surtex theme, and since we love food of all kinds, we might even begin with brainstorming about our Surtex Show Snack choices. I won’t say that we designed our entire circus-themed booth around our animal cracker show snacks … but I won’t deny it either.


A few years ago, we gave away animal crackers to celebrate the debut of our Welcome Home Noah collection … and long after the little cookies had crumbled, we received a call from a new client who was holding the box in his hands as he spoke, “I want the elephants on this little box.” We thought, “Hey, our show snacks worked.”

So, this year, since we had created a fun new vintage circus collection, we decided that good ol’ Barnum’s Animal Crackers could make their comeback as the giveaway snack under our Little Big Top booth. Not only would the packaging offer us the opportunity to use every corny circus slogan possible, but, hello … they’re good for you. Note the very strong mouse below.


Personally, a major part of animal crackers’ charm for me is the little purse-box that houses them. No matter how old a little girl might be, there is just something fun about carrying a “purse” of cookies around. This lead me to the search for perfect purse handles: baker’s twine to match our vintage circus boxes, and yes, we now own enough baker’s twine to open a bakery.

We also have to take a moment to thank our wonderful helper, Linda, (busy hands below) and our great printer, Barry Colvin at Republic Printing, for, once again, helping us to get these boxes printed, scored, assembled and shipped before the “now-it-will-cost-an-arm-and-a-leg” shipping date. Below you can see the transformation from Barnum’s Animal Crackers to Cathy Heck Studio’s Critter Crackers.

CathyHeckStudio_animalcrackers3 CathyHeckStudio_animalcrackers4

We actually called our giveaways “trade show emergency snacks,” because many of our clients and press visitors told us that our snack became their dinner on the train or in their hotel rooms. So next time you think of animal crackers as a simple carpool snack to last until the soccer game, think again. This little snack might just be the lifesaving-nectar-of-the-gods to a new client who couldn’t fit in a lunch break.


Above, little purse-boxes of critter crackers displayed in our booth from a nifty vintage-y luggage piece which we found at Paper Source. I know you’re probably hankering for an animal cracker right about now, but unfortunately, this limited edition has been devoured. However, you can find them in your local grocery, and they will taste exactly as you remember!



  1. the other Cathy June 26, 2013

    Bravo Heck team! Those animal crackers are the absolute cutest thing I have seen in a long time. You never run out of clever, innovative ideas! Big hugs and I’m sure Surtex was another successful show!

  2. Rita Bomberry August 15, 2013

    Beautiful!! I love the look of the cute boxes. Wonderful ideas too. Did you actually make boxes or did you cover them and what did you use to cover them?

  3. Author
    Cathy Heck August 22, 2013

    We actually designed new boxes that were the size of the original animal cracker boxes. We printed them through our local printer here in Austin.

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