Scotts Miracle-Gro Company: Neighbor To Neighbor campaign

Rebecca Stanfel



OVERVIEW

The Scotts Company, later to be named Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, had been a leading manufacturer of lawn-and garden-care products since 1868. It sold grass seed, fertilizers, herbicides, and potting soils from its family of brands, which included Ortho, Miracle-Gro, Hyponex, and Turf Builder. Even though it was one of the largest garden and indoor plant-care companies in America, Scotts's marketing efforts floundered during the early 1990s. After Scotts acquired Miracle-Gro in 1995, the founder of Miracle-Gro, Horace Hagerdon, helped solidify the Scotts brand and orchestrated the removal of Scotts CEO Theodore J. Host, whom Hagerdon considered ineffective. Hoping to improve sales and further build the Scotts brand, Scotts released its "Neighbor to Neighbor" campaign.

Created by the ad agencies Wolf Group and Partners & Shevack, the $2 million campaign began in 1996. The budget was soon increased to $20 million. The campaign initially entailed television and radio spots, but in 2003 it expanded with print executions. "Neighbor to Neighbor" featured real customers who raved about their successes in attaining a lush, green yard by using different Scotts products. Each of the television commercials focused on a specific Scotts lawn-care product, and they incorporated humor to make the often intimidating task of lawn care seem less threatening. The advertisements also all included Scotts's formal guarantee of its products' efficacy. The company viewed the guarantee as "more of a promise than a traditional tag line," as Gordon Hecker, Scotts's vice president of advertising, told Adweek. Scotts recognized that "consumers depend on the company for advice on lawns and gardening, as well as for the product." In 2003 the Wolf Group, by then the sole agency handling the Scotts account, closed its doors, and the campaign continued under the ML Rogers Agency.