SBJ/Feb. 7-13, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Scotts asks WMG to grow business

Wasserman Media Group has won a shootout to become agency of record for Scotts and activate the lawn care company’s burgeoning MLB and NASCAR sponsorships.

In the initial year of its MLB sponsorship in 2010, Scotts’ efforts included an ambitious program of team deals, licensed grass seed, themed advertising and sponsorship of MLB All-Star Game balloting at Lowe’s.

Scotts has launched Yankee Stadium grass seed.
The move reunites Scotts with John Brody, who left MLB in August after 11 years to be head of global sales at WMG. In winning the business, WMG bested IMG and Optimum Sports.

“Of course, we had a great deal of comfort and trust with John,” said John Price, senior brand manager for sports marketing and sponsorship at Scotts, “but we were also impressed by the level of expertise displayed by the Wasserman account team in both MLB and NASCAR.”

Scotts’ NASCAR ties include a sponsorship of Carl Edwards’ No. 99 car in support of its EZ Seed product along with title sponsorship of the March 19 Nationwide Series race in Bristol, Tenn., the Scotts Turf Builder 300.

For the coming MLB season, Scotts will add a significant ninth MLB team to its lineup: the New York Yankees. Already on board with Scotts are Atlanta, Boston, the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati, the Los Angeles Angels, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Texas. The Yankees deal includes the launch of licensed Yankee Stadium grass seed; Scotts product usage on the field; media; branding on the grounds crew and their drag mats; and sponsorship of the grounds crew’s familiar “YMCA” routine during the middle of the fifth inning.

Price said last year’s MLB activation “easily exceeded” sales expectations.

“Clearly, Scotts isn’t in the most traditional category, but they really made an aggressive push in their first year with baseball, and we’re excited they chose us to map out the future,” Brody said.

The deal adds to Wasserman’s list of consulting clients, which includes T-Mobile, American Express, Nationwide Insurance and Northern Trust. Scotts is the second win for WMG since Brody came on board. Sources said WMG has quietly won some strategic consulting work from Pepsi, another MLB sponsor, but Brody would neither confirm nor deny the assignment.

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