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For Scotts Co., this year's lawn and garden season never looked so fertile.

The company's $21 million "Neighbor To Neighbor" radio and TV campaign is successfully stimulating Scotts' sales in a mature category by creating an urgency to buy its lawn fertilizers.

It's not just the revamped TV campaign, which features real Scotts' consumers talking about their success with the product line, but the airing of "This Weekend" market-specific radio spots from Partners & Shevack/Wolf, New York, in 78 markets keyed to that region's growing season that adds the urgency to fertilizer purchases.

"We haven't before done a good enough job explaining our product to consumers," says Gordon Hecker.

For turning around the fertilizer line, Mr. Hecker recently was promoted to senior VP-marketing North America from VP-consumer lawn marketing. Scotts' sales rose 20% in 1998; so far this year, sales are up 30%.

"We had to develop new informative packaging to help consumers better identify the right product for their own lawns," Mr. Hecker, 37, says.

New tear-off fliers offer explicit information.

Mr. Hecker, formerly in brand management at Clorox Co., also promoted the idea of expanding fertilizer sales beyond the spring season, with TV spots running on Labor Day and in October further driving purchases. Sales last fall jumped 50%, he says.

Now, Mr. Hecker faces the challenge of working the same sales magic on Scotts' other lawn and garden products, including those in its Miracle-Gro Products division.

"We want to help consumers get the most out of their lawns and gardens. Not

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