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A gnome, a fox and a Scot walk into a bar

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Scotts Miracle-Gro is spending $135 million this year to promote its Groundskeeper Willie-cum-lawn care expert to homeowners around the country.

And while my extraction is Irish, I still like this campaign, which launched this spring. It’s just hokey enough to be entertaining.

And, more importantly, it shows that Scotts actually listens to its customers:

The campaign is based on “one huge insight” from research among more than 4,000 consumers, Mr. Lyski said, that “people would change their behavior if an expert spoke to them about lawn care.”

“They said, ‘If I knew more, I’d do more,’ ” he added.

In the research, people also talked about how there is usually “somebody on your street” knowledgeable about lawn care, Mr. Lyski said.

The brand character Scott “marries the two” concepts, he added, and “we made him Scottish because of the mnemonic.”

The concept of a Scotsman promoting Scotts to his neighbors in middle America may seem corny, but “there’s so much noise out there,” Mr. Lyski said. “You need a little something to break through the clutter.”

This winter, Dick Bare at Arbor-Nomics in Atlanta and I had a long, very animated discussion about his new gnome. (To be fair, all my conversations with Dick are animated, whether they’re related to mythical creatures or not.)

Maria Candler at James River Grounds Management in Virgina just introduced Pip, a fox-like mascot she’s using to keep employees focused on training.

Whether you use a gnome or a fox or a hobbit, a simple and iconic and (yes, sometimes, a little gimmicky) mascot can humanize your brand, make your company more memorable and help you connect better with customers. It can help you, as Lyski says, cut through the clutter.

Written by CBOWEN@GIE.NET

May 15th, 2013 at 1:08 pm