Gardner Award Best Copywriting for a Display Ad – Commercial Publications
Please describe your project.
The project was a full-page ad for my client, Sod Production Services, and their product, Tahoma 31 Bermuda. This grass, developed by Oklahoma State University, is the most cold-tolerant bermudagrass on the market, but it also has a long list of features and benefits. The ad depicts a Swiss Army Knife transformed from its traditional red into Tahoma 31’s blue brand color. The knife has the Tahoma 31 logo engraved on it. Arrows radiating from the extended arms of the knife point to short subheads that name each of the product benefits and short descriptions of those benefits. To bring it all together, the headline of the ad says: Like This, But in a Bermudagrass.
What were your main objectives in developing this project?
The main objective in developing this ad campaign was to quickly and succinctly convey that the product has many benefits without getting bogged down in a long bulleted list. I also wanted the ad’s target audience (sports turf managers, golf course superintendents, golf course owners and builders, and other related turf industry pros) to understand that the grass could be a tool to help them overcome challenges like cold, drought and wear. Additionally, the product’s main competitor focuses on just one attribute (drought tolerance) in their ads. I also wanted to show that Tahoma 31 could handle drought and much more.
What influenced your approach?
Influencing my approach was the desire to draw a straight line from the usefulness of a Swiss Army Knife to the usefulness of the grass as a tool, not just a turf, that solves problems and helps turfgrass managers overcome challenges. I wanted to speak to the issues they face and offer a solution to those issues. Once I came up with the campaign idea, the next step was to order replicas of the knife to give out at trade shows. This made the campaign jump right off the page and into the hands of potential customers. It’s been highly effective.
What do you think stood out in your winning entry?
The writing was crisp and to the point. The reader doesn’t have to wade through long blocks of text. They can glance at the ad and get it immediately. I compared my client’s product to an iconic brand that everyone knows and the comparison strengthens the message.
Reprinted from TOCA Talk, Spring 2023 issue
Stacie Zinn Roberts is a nationally recognized, award-winning writer and marketing expert with more than 25 years of experience. She has won more than 40 national awards for her work including the United Nations Environmental Program for retail environmental marketing, as well as from organizations such at the Public Relations Society of America and the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. She’s written for industry publications such as Golf Course Management, Sports Turf, Golfdom and PR Daily. She spent eight years as the president and director of marketing for Environmental Turf, where she developed the branding for SeaDwarf Seashore Paspalum, the grass that eventually became the greens grass for the Rio Olympic Golf Course. Stacie served for six years on the Board of Directors of the Florida Turfgrass Association as Chair of the Research & Scholarship Committee where she worked closely with the scientists from the University of Florida’s turfgrass breeding program. Stacie founded What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations in 2012.