The best email I sent in 2012

I spent the first half of 2012 looking for a job, a period of time its marked bleakness. I sent a lot of emails, spent a lot of time getting my LinkedIn profile to 100% and generally hating the notion of working anywhere I applied.

(I also went to a pyramid scheme).

It’s that desperation that makes you excited for any callback. One such prospect was a company that sold astro turf. Position: marketing manager or social media person, I can’t remember. I applied, met the minimums and was then sent an assignment.

I’m usually wary about jobs that make you do work outside of your resume and interview, but something about the ‘think outside the box’ aggravated my sensible brain thingies and I got weird with it.

First, here’s the prompt:

Please provide a mock plan for launching a new product here locally in San Diego to homeowners & then nationally to the landscape contractor/landscape architect/playground manufacturer trades– It’s a new fiber (Read more about it here

1. press release
2. advertisements in xxx publications w/ xxx theme

Please include your thought process is for the launch items you choose. Feel free to think outside the box and present an unusual marketing plan, remember this is a position where creativity and entrepreneurial thinking are supported and expected. J

What follows is my campaign for ‘TURF WARS’.

The first term to come to mind is “Turf Wars” – a play on rivals seen in stereotypical gangster movies/TV (The Godfather, The Wire). I think the key here is to recognize that turf is an innocuous product, and by instilling that sort of aggression (of a gangster) shows that we’re self-aware, which comes off as light-hearted, funny and easy for the public to enjoy.

“Turf Wars” is also poignant in that it closes the aesthetic gap between real grass and turf. Besides the obvious advantages of turf – low maintenance, reduces water usage – the biggest drawback has been that it looks like turf. Not anymore. “Turf Wars” acknowledges that competitive edge of the new fiber.

Since campaign is based on the perception of appearances, we create a character– a gangster look-alike who moves in and unsettles the next-door neighbors with his sly behavior. Playing off the nosey-neighbor/”keeping up with the Joneses” dynamic, these neighbors see his nice car, GQ fashion and jump the conclusion that he’s a shady character. The press release and ads (placed in Lawn & Landscape, Turf, A Garden Life, etc.) would feature glossy, stylized photos of the two contrasting houses (gangster’s, turf; neighbor’s grass) and the text over Gangster’s side of the photo: “He’s not a gangster. That’s not real grass. But you don’t know that. Turf Wars.” The neighbors in the picture huddle together, unsure.

We unleash “Turf Wars” via social media by staging a facebook contest. Entrants who provide the most compelling case as to why their lawn is the worst will get free turf covering. These cases will be made by entrants posting the pictures and descriptions on the facebook page, where they will encourage their friends to “like” their entries. This will raise the spirit of competition (the “war” of the contest), encourage creativity and bring new awareness of EasyTurf from those “liking” the facebook page.

We could also build the character of the Gangster with viral videos that play into the misconception farce. For instance, the neighbor does not keep his lawn in good shape, and gangster comes by threatening to “whack” something, which plays of the hitman/gangster term for a kill. We find out that Gangster means he’s going to weed whack the yard.

When presenting the turf at outdoor events, we could facilitate patches of turf where people could rest. EasyTurf representatives would be well-dressed in suits, dresses and dark glasses and could provide umbrella-shade, water, or just overall doting that a Don or Godfather would receive. Or perhaps, this would be a privilege reserved for those who are fans of EasyTurf on facebook—which would tie the virtual campaign to a real-life scenario.


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