Scott’s new "Jim Cares About Independents" ad

I enjoy receiving various trade publications. It’s a chance to see what other nurseries and nursery people are up to. One I receive is “Nursery Retailer”, which bills itself as “Cutting Edge, Real World Retailing – Your Competitive Advantage.” Generally it’s an interesting read and one of the better trade magazines we receive. They also publish “Garden Chic” which was the source for my “Is Susie Cohelo from outer space(s)?” post. What I am interested in is what appears to be a very cozy relationship with the Scott’s corporation. This is something I hadn’t picked up on before, as it seems a little more out in the open now. The first page features a two page ad titled “Jim Cares About Independents”. Jim Hagedorn is the president of Scotts. The ad points out that Jim and the publisher of Nursery Retailer, Jeff Morey are traveling around meeting independents who naturally love and use Miracle-gro, one of Scott’s product lines. Considering the Scott’s organization is thick in the box stores its nice to see Jim cares about independents enough to take this ad out and tell us.

The next page is an ad for “Smith & Hawken” another Scott’s company. Flip through a couple of more pages and there is a huge ad for the IGC, Independent Garden Center Show in Chicago. One of the keynote speakers will be Jim Hagerdorn who sure “cares about independents.”

We then come to a multi-paged article on “Branded Plants." While they do cover Monrovia nursery, Proven Winners, Encore Azaleas, as well as others, sure enough there is “Miracle-gro Nursery Select Brand." It says “The Scott’s Company is the world leading supplier and marketer of consumer products for do-it-yourself lawn and garden care. In 2003, the company unveiled its independents-only product line under the Miracle-Gro Nursery Select brand. Premium annuals were introduced using the Nursery select brand in limited geography. The Nursery select program was introduced specifically in response to the needs of independent retailers and is an exclusive program.”

I mentioned in my post “We garden for you so you don’t have to” how Scott’s sold plants through the Smith & Hawken Brand. Well it now seems they are selling plants through the Miracle-Gro Nursery select program. They claim it’s an independent only program and I guess it is for now. We’ll see what happens.

My whole problem with this “Jim Cares About Independents” campaign is if he did he wouldn’t have to print it in large letters across the top of the ad. When someone who is most likely one of the largest suppliers of garden products to the box stores say’s he “cares” about independents it just doesn’t resonate.

I know magazines depend on ad dollars to make it. It’s just a little weird when the publisher of a magazine for independent garden centers starts traveling around the country with the president of Scott’s telling independents they “care.”