SBJ/March 17-23, 2014/Colleges

Scotts plants first March Madness effort with Lowe’s rights, displays

Scotts Miracle-Gro is mounting its first NCAA March Madness promotion with the help of pass-through rights from NCAA corporate sponsor Lowe’s and will do a media buy on the tournament in order to get in front of the spring yard season.

Scotts has bought air time on the event previously, but with the new, augmented rights from Lowe’s, it has fashioned a digital promotion called Choose Your #1 Seed that will support product displays within the garden centers of about 1,000 Lowe’s stores. The digital promotion across ESPN.com, Yahoo Sports, CBSSports.com and others asks fans to guess who will be in the Final Four this year and is offering a trip to the Final Four in Arlington, Texas, as first prize.

TV ads from Lowe’s and Scotts will tag the promotion. Wasserman Media Group is Scotts’ sports marketing agency of record.

Scotts has been an MLB sponsor since 2010, but the NCAA rights and the promotion “allows us to start to talk to consumers about lawn care a little earlier, by tying ourselves to a big property like March Madness, and gets us a nice presence at Lowe’s, which is one of our biggest customers,” said Chris Strunk, director of marketing promotions and communications for Scotts Miracle-Gro. “We’ll jump-start our selling season and then still run a seasonlong program with our MLB rights.’’

The same merchandising units at Lowe’s will be converted to an MLB theme next month. This year’s, Scotts MLB promotions and marketing will carry the tag line “Go Yard” and will link to home run contests and on-air enhancements. A sweepstakes overlay dangles a $25,000 yard makeover as top prize. The Colorado Rockies have been added to Scotts’ portfolio of MLB team sponsorships, a lineup that also includes Atlanta, Boston, the Chicago Cubs, the New York Yankees, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Texas.

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