Fort Atkinson, WI: Due to rapid growth spurred by a steady diet of brand acquisitions in recent years, The Uncle Josh Company and its collective family of brands will now be known as Hard and Soft Fishing.
Kurt Kellogg, owner of Hard and Soft Fishing, felt that because Uncle Josh has been around since 1922 and had such a strong brand identity tied to pork baits, many consumers and retailers may have overlooked the full family of brands previously held under the Uncle Josh name including: Kalin’s, Beaver Dam, Little Stinker, Bead, Bombshell, Atom, and recently acquired Acme Tackle Company.
“The name, Uncle Josh, is an icon in the industry because of its legendary roots in pork baits and because of this, we think it’s time to allow that brand to stand on its own again,” said Kellogg. “ Bringing it under one parent name, along with our other brands, allowed us to do that. We felt the corporate name change to Hard and Soft Fishing made sense.”
According to Kellogg, the new corporate name, Hard & Soft Fishing, illustrates the wide breadth of products the company offers for both ice fishing (“Hard”) and open water fishing (“Soft”) markets.
“I don’t think people realize how many brands we actually have,” Kellogg said. “From ice fishing for pike, to flipping for bass, to casting for snook, we have a product that will get the job done. We had to rename the company because we have so much more to offer than pork.”
Hard and Soft Fishing is doing more than rebranding their parent company- they are attacking the market starting this fall with a full sponsorship of John Gillespie’s Waters & Woods Television show. In addition, for 2014, they are an anchor sponsor for Fishing With Joe Bucher.
“We plan to use TV to saturate the national market but these shows are really strong in Midwest- which is a big focus of ours,” Kellogg said. “We will also place print ads regionally to support our retail partners. It will be very targeted advertising designed to drive consumers seasonally. We also will utilize In-Fisherman magazine to reach the most diehard anglers in the country, nationwide.”
Hard and Soft Fishing has roots dating back to 1922, when their first brand, Uncle Josh, began manufacturing in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. They have grown to represent nearly every tackle category on the market for both ice and open-water fishing. From the Pacific to the Atlantic and all the lakes and rivers in-between, they produce bait and tackle that has been helped anglers catch more fish for decades. Employees don’t simply produce tackle, the use it on the weekends.