Springtime is seed time. Yet depending on one's perspective, seeds can mean lawn care or NCAA tournament brackets. And this year, Scotts Miracle-Gro and Lowes are leveraging both viewpoints.
The lawn-care company and home-improvement chain have launched "Choose Your #1 Seed Challenge," a two-phase March Madness promotion developed by digital agency HelloWorld.
"Scotts wanted to capitalize on March Madness with a different approach," says Jen Gray, vice president, marketing and creative services, HelloWorld, adding that it's hard to find another event with a larger and diverse audience. Hence, this promotion is designed to expand Scotts reach. "It's meant to add value [to current Scotts buyers] and spark interest [among new ones]," says Gray.
The first phase kicked off last month by inviting people to pick the top seeds in each of the four NCAA regional brackets. Participants fill out a form either online or at Lowes stores to register and select which school will be selected as the top seed in their region.
Next, the contest resets on March 17 with the same structure, yet instead of picking four regional winners, people choose the Final Four NCAA championship teams.
Those who accurately selected either the regional and final round teams are entered into a drawing to receive a trip to the Final Four in Arlington, Texas. In addition to the trip, participants will be entered for a chance to win a variety of other prizes. The contest is supported with online ads, shelf promotion and in-store point-of-sale materials.
This sweepstakes is part of a larger initiative by Scotts to reset its marketing approach. Rather than focus on lawn performance, the brand is embarking on a "radical departure from the past" to convey real-life stories of those who use its products.
To that end, the recently launched "Grow Something Greater" campaign, developed by creative agency 360i, a unit of Dentsu, highlights people who benefit from Scotts products.
Scotts Miracle-Gro has upped its marketing budget by spending more in six months in 2013 than it did in the entire 12 months of 2012 ($26.4 million vs. $27.1 million), according to Kantar Media.