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The Gloves Come Off: Espoma Launches Full Swing into Lawn Care

Wow. You have to watch this.

It is, in its 80 seconds, the most provocative, bold and some would dare say ballsy video ever created in the history of the lawn care industry.

And perhaps most stunning of all is the video’s creators, the Espoma Company of Millville, N.J., once known as probably the most conservative company in the horticulture industry.

Here. Watch it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScYaPV56Lfk

Without giving away the spot’s punch lines, with punch being the operative word, Espoma is telling the world that it’s tired of being bullied by a certain company from Marysville, Ohio. Espoma is telling all of us that we should be sick and tired of behaving as lemmings, a bunch of drones assailed by an onslaught of advertising dollars.

The video, reportedly, was the talk of Chicago at the recent Independent Garden Center Show held last week where the organic movement took center stage.

“We were just having a little fun,” said John Harrison, Espoma’s long-time marketing director — who couldn’t have conceived a more provocative way to re-launch his company into the lawn care retail space. Espoma’s move looks typically austere on its web site: http://www.espoma.com/eolf/ — until you click on the video.

“We think we’ve re-invented the category for homeowners and garden centers,” said Harrison. “Our new program eliminates a lot of the nitrogen that has proven to be both unnecessary and also detrimental to the environment. It’s also cost competitive for the homeowner as compared to our competitors’ four-step plans.

“We think it’s going to be a winner for everyone.”

In other words, he’s saying, let’s throw off the gloves and bring it on.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

Number of Entries : 1023
  • http://john.connollyclan.com/ John Connolly

    As a Marysville native, commercial applicator, and a somewhat serious gardener who judiciously uses products from both companies, I tend to think the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    I wish that Espoma didn’t have to come on so strong and pander to a fringe element to get a toehold in lawncare, but I understand why they do. I also wish that Scotts would re-evaluate the positioning and use of its core products, instead of continually inventing new lines that portend to be green only to give the company a broader presence in the market.

    Will my lawn get a healthy dose of Scott Super Turf Builder this fall to help it recover from the drought this summer- Yes. However, that same bag of STB will last the next few seasons for my typical, 1/3 acre subdivision lot.

  • http://john.connollyclan.com/ John Connolly

    As a Marysville native, commercial applicator, and a somewhat serious gardener who judiciously uses products from both companies, I tend to think the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    I wish that Espoma didn’t have to come on so strong and pander to a fringe element to get a toehold in lawncare, but I understand why they do. I also wish that Scotts would re-evaluate the positioning and use of its core products, instead of continually inventing new lines that portend to be green only to give the company a broader presence in the market.

    Will my lawn get a healthy dose of Scott Super Turf Builder this fall to help it recover from the drought this summer- Yes. However, that same bag of STB will last the next few seasons for my typical, 1/3 acre subdivision lot.

  • Alice in Northern Maine

    Great video! I wish my neighbor could see it. He still sprays 2,4-D on his yard adjacent to our Backyard Wildlife Habitat where frogs, toads, birds, and chipmunks frolic. I’ll forward the link to my friends.
    Thanks, Paul

  • Alice in Northern Maine

    Great video! I wish my neighbor could see it. He still sprays 2,4-D on his yard adjacent to our Backyard Wildlife Habitat where frogs, toads, birds, and chipmunks frolic. I’ll forward the link to my friends.
    Thanks, Paul

  • Carrie

    John,
    You seem like a reasonable person, and you immediately appealed to my “Daddy’s Girl” sensibilities by saying: “The truth is somewhere in the middle.” (that was one of my Dad’s favorite all-time sayings), BUT, in this case-the truth is decidedly off-center. Here’s why. Toxic chemicals are somewhat harmful to most people over the long-term, and they are very harmful to some people over both the short and long-term. (I’m talking about lives being completely upended by a single pesticide overexposure-this stuff can be that potent even when “used as directed”, which they often aren’t). Pesticide use is a particularly pernicious problem because these products are mostly invisible, so you can’t even see where they are or how much is really being applied across our neighborhoods or in our society. I think that if people could visualize just how much of this stuff people use on a regular basis they’d be horrified. Even worse than that, though, the invisibility of these chemicals makes it impossible for the chemically sensitive, immune compromised, children, and other vulnerable people to avoid toxic areas that pose special dangers for them. We need stricter regulations and a much greater social AND CORPORATE consciousness to make the world safe for the 49% of us who have a less than “average” ability to safely metabolize and detoxify these ubiquitous poisons in our environment. (And while I would naturally prefer that a company see the “green” light based on ethics alone, I’m okay with a company deciding to go “green” for greenbacks). Businesses need to make money. I get that, and I support that (we need jobs, after all). What I don’t support is a company putting our health at risk to make money. That’s where I draw the line. Dollars should NEVER trump safety, especially not when the one making all the money is not the one bearing any of the safety risks. Catch my [nontoxic] drift?

  • Carrie

    John,
    You seem like a reasonable person, and you immediately appealed to my “Daddy’s Girl” sensibilities by saying: “The truth is somewhere in the middle.” (that was one of my Dad’s favorite all-time sayings), BUT, in this case-the truth is decidedly off-center. Here’s why. Toxic chemicals are somewhat harmful to most people over the long-term, and they are very harmful to some people over both the short and long-term. (I’m talking about lives being completely upended by a single pesticide overexposure-this stuff can be that potent even when “used as directed”, which they often aren’t). Pesticide use is a particularly pernicious problem because these products are mostly invisible, so you can’t even see where they are or how much is really being applied across our neighborhoods or in our society. I think that if people could visualize just how much of this stuff people use on a regular basis they’d be horrified. Even worse than that, though, the invisibility of these chemicals makes it impossible for the chemically sensitive, immune compromised, children, and other vulnerable people to avoid toxic areas that pose special dangers for them. We need stricter regulations and a much greater social AND CORPORATE consciousness to make the world safe for the 49% of us who have a less than “average” ability to safely metabolize and detoxify these ubiquitous poisons in our environment. (And while I would naturally prefer that a company see the “green” light based on ethics alone, I’m okay with a company deciding to go “green” for greenbacks). Businesses need to make money. I get that, and I support that (we need jobs, after all). What I don’t support is a company putting our health at risk to make money. That’s where I draw the line. Dollars should NEVER trump safety, especially not when the one making all the money is not the one bearing any of the safety risks. Catch my [nontoxic] drift?

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