Radio Grows the Business for Lawn and Garden Firm

St. Gabriel Labs, a Virginia-based producer of natural lawn and garden products, needed to raise awareness and generate sales in the New York market. In May, on the recommendation of its ad agency, Clifton, N.J.-based Ad Lab, St. Gabriel advertised on two New York Radio stations, offering a free sample of Burn Out, a weed killer made of fermented vinegar and lemon juice -- if listeners would call in for the company's catalog.
According to Ted Reuter, director of the company, the response was "overwhelming. The phone rang off the hook. We ran in May on a weekend gardening show and weekday consumer advocate talk show, pointing out that this weed killer was faster and safer than existing products. In the last few years, the general public has become concerned about the harsh chemicals that they've been using for years and years."
The free sample offer enabled St. Gabriel to expose consumers to its entire line via the catalog and to build a mailing list. Follow-up orders, says Reuter, were "pretty darn good." But, more importantly, he adds, "We also heard from landscapers, and that was real good. Whatever we spent on the advertising, we got back four-fold."
Since St. Gabriel's products are sold in very few stores, all orders were taken directly by phone. But, because of the Radio exposure and resulting increased consumer demand, St. Gabriel's next Radio effort will most likely be aimed at expanding retail distribution. "We're going to put together a dealer participation plan in the New York area," said Reuter. "More small companies," he added, "should know what they can do in Radio."