The Scotts Co. has stirred up a stagnant lawn-care product category with a new lawn spreader system featuring a custom pouch with fitment that becomes an integral part of the product-dispensing process. The Scotts Snap cartridge spreader system with complementary Scotts Snap-Pac pouches, engineered in-house with assistance from a design firm, provides a no-mess, no-guesswork lawn-care option for consumers with smaller lawn sizes—4,000 sq ft or less—and for those looking for a more convenient spreader option.
The sleekly engineered spreader and eight product varieties in flexible Snap-Pac pouches—including lawn food, weed controls, crabgrass preventer, and insect killer—were launched gradually into the market, beginning in 2010 and becoming available nationally in home and garden retailers in 2012. Sold separately from the spreader, the products are dispensed by placing the Snap-Pac on top of the applicator, flipping a switch that affixes the pouch to the spreader, and engaging the handle of the spreader, which opens the fitment at the bottom of the pouch to release product in a controlled flow.
According to Scotts research principal Brad Schultz, the Snap system was developed in response to ethnographic research conducted by the company to determine consumers’ pain points relating to lawn and garden care. One challenge, they learned, was the unwieldy task of pouring product into the spreader, as well as the subsequent storage of unused product.
“Another challenge, particularly for consumers who aren’t experienced in lawn and garden fertilizing, is understanding the product instructions,” Schultz adds. “Snap basically takes that anxiety away for the consumer because there are no settings. Each cartridge is preset for the product that’s being dispensed. So assuming the consumer goes over their lawn just one time [with the spreader], there is no chance of over- or under-application of product.”
At $49.99, the Snap applicator is positioned between Scotts’ mid-tier and high-end spreading units. It was designed with a streamlined, contemporary appearance and a small footprint, with a handle that folds in half for easy storage. Premium metallic colorants were used in the injection-molding process to offer more “bling” than Scotts’ traditional agricultural-style spreaders, Schultz notes. All colorants and resins for the spreader were also selected to meet Scotts’ strict durability and fade-resistance requirements, he adds.
The crowning achievement of the Snap cartridge system however, is the Snap-Pac. Says Schultz, “When we set out to build this package, we really pushed the limits of what has been attempted before in terms of fitment technology.” The Snap-Pac employs two proprietary parts: a multilayer stand-up pouch, and a custom injection-molded dispensing fitment. The pouch, holding from seven to 12.8 lb of product, depending on variety, offers a custom shape that engages with the spreader and features a two-hole handle that makes it easy for consumers to carry. The proprietary pouch structure is laminated for strength and for high-end print capabilities, and offers UV-resistance.
The fitment, positioned at the bottom of the pouch, is a four-piece construction made of high-density polyethylene that includes a metering plate specifically designed for each product variety to ensure the proper application rate. “You don’t put an insect control product down at the same rate as a fertilizer,” Schultz explains. “So we modify the metering plate so we get a variety of orifice sizes that allow us to control the flow of product.” Once the consumer releases the handle of the spreader after product application, the fitment closes, and the pouch with any unused product can be removed from the spreader for clean, no-spill storage.
As for the product’s marketing prowess, brilliantly colored Snap-Pac pouch graphics were designed by brand agency CBX, which created aspirational images for each lawn-care variety to showcase the end benefit of the products. A blue sky with fluffy clouds is pictured on the top half of the bag, while the bottom displays vibrant-green grass. The product name uses an approachable, contemporary typeface that is locked up with the Scotts logo. A three-step instructional inset with product illustrations at the bottom of the bag depicts how users “Snap,” “Lock,” and “Go” with the system.
Says CBX chief creative officer Rick Barrack, “The educational component of the product was paramount to our solution. The visual design needed to communicate that this is an integrated lawn care system with key features and benefits—essentially that a beautiful lawn is just a Snap away.”
Since its introduction, Scotts Snap spreader cartridge system has caused some buzz in a retail category starved for innovation, Schulz says, and has attracted new consumers to a process that may have formerly intimidated them. Snap-Pacs are available nationally at a suggested retail price of $13.99 to $29.99, depending upon variety.