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We Can Grow This – Really!

Regular and sporadic readers of this blog know that back in the fall of 2011 I proposed that this phrase would be useful for the promotion of plants and gardening. Since I think that horticulture and the gardening enhances just about every aspect of life, my goal is always to share that message with the world.

It seemed for a time that this phrase was suddenly yanked away from the collective of people who were on board with this promotion. It was in the process of being trademarked for the use of promoting one company’s products. But I’m pleased to say that we’re back on track and we can indeed grow this.

Recently the Director of Public Relations for ScottsMiracle-Gro contacted me to let me know that this company is going to let their application of the trademarking of this phrase expire. They will not pursue their application through to registration and if I, or a YCGT non-profit group would like to file for the trademark of this phrase we will be able to do so.

I attribute some of their willingness to the attention focused on this issue by Amy Stewart at Garden Rant. Her combination of wit and scrutiny were, to my mind, important in bringing this issue into the light. In her blog post a fictional employee named Louise Baker wrote to say that SMG was going to back off of this mark. Today I’m pleased to say that ScottsMiracle-Gro has done just that.

My goal in all of this was and remains the promotion of plants and gardening. Whatever my personal displeasure with some of Scotts products and past actions, I am hopeful that this decision means that there are truly some “Louise Bakers” within their organization that want the same.

A new YCGT website is coming shortly. Gardening Coast to Coast? We Can Grow That! If you’re passionate about plants speak up and share the excitement.

It is the dawn of a new era for gardening...

26 Responses to “We Can Grow This – Really!”

  1. 1
    Gardening Jones:

    If I ever used the “A” word, it would be now… but I don’t… so Wonderbar!

  2. 2
    Carol:

    That’s great news. I’ll be ready for the next 4th of the month to contribute my You Can Grow That post.

  3. 3
    trey:

    Congratulations C.L. Nice to see the power of social media work in a positive way.

  4. 4
    Lynn Ferda:

    Well, wonders never cease! Good for you, CL, and good for Scott’s and their social media/PR people! Sometimes things just do work out like they’re supposed to…

  5. 5
    Don Shor:

    Things have not been going so well in the PR department for Scotts lately. Maybe they’re getting a little more attentive to what’s being said about them….Great news all around!

  6. 6
    It’s a Miracle! Scotts backs off You Can Grow That | Garden Rant:

    [...] As she just posted: Recently the Director of Public Relations for Scotts Miracle-Gro contacted me to let me know that this company is going to let their application of the trademarking of this phrase expire. They will not pursue their application through to registration and if I, or a YCGT non-profit group would like to file for the trademark of this phrase we will be able to do so. [...]

  7. 7
    We can grow that! | The Blogging Nurseryman by Trey Pitsenberger:

    [...] Gro has backed off from the trade marking, leaving CL with her phrase to do as she pleases. Here is the story. It’s quite a turn around and something I wouldn’t have expected from the company. Something [...]

  8. 8
    Jacqui Austin:

    That’s Fantastic! Could say a “miracle” but that would be a bad pun. CL, what can we do to help? I’m sure there must be a cost associated with trademarking…Please let us know! We could send via paypal?

  9. 9
    Elizabeth Barrow:

    Wonderful news! I’m so pleased for you.

  10. 10
    Gordon:

    Yay! This is great news!

  11. 11
    It’s a Miracle! Scott backs off You Can Grow That » Cycads Australia – Logo Design:

    [...] As she just posted: Recently the Director of Public Relations for Scotts Miracle-Gro contacted me to let me know that this company is going to let their application of the trademarking of this phrase expire. They will not pursue their application through to registration and if I, or a YCGT non-profit group would like to file for the trademark of this phrase we will be able to do so. [...]

  12. 12
    Kris BLEVONS:

    So glad to hear this!

  13. 13
    Pam/Digging:

    That’s great! I’m glad Scotts recognized your claim to the use of that phrase. Yay for the power of social media, and Garden Rant!

  14. 14
    Kathy Jentz, Washington Gardener Magazine:

    Such great news and could only happen in the 21st Century with the glare of social media. THIS is exactly why I try to get folks onto Facebook, Twitter, etc. – it shifts the balance of power into the hands of the people.

  15. 15
    Keith Miner:

    Let’s hope this is a trend for SMG. Doing the right thing should be a standard, not an exception. Way to go C.L. Forni!!

  16. 16
    Sowandso:

    Fab news! Really happy we can continue. Now let’s keep on writting about the importance of growing without chemicals. Who knows maybe Scott’s will figure it out one day..

  17. 17
    crafty_cristy:

    I can hardly believe it! I am really glad to hear it.

  18. 18
    Thad:

    I would get to work on your trademark application asap! While Scotts may have backed down from their application, there is nothing stopping another company or organization from claiming the mark. Unlike patents, use does not preclude a trademark.

    Cheers!

  19. 19
    Mary-Kate Mackey:

    Hurrah! But exactly why did they back away?

  20. 20
    Donna B.:

    Yay yay yay! I’m happy the outcome is positive.. so now let’s see the site! hee hee hee! ♥

  21. 21
    Laura Bell:

    There are not enough smiley-faced emoticons to express my glee.

  22. 22
    CL Fornari:

    Thanks to all who are celebrating the SMG decision. I was also surprised and delighted. Why did they take this action? I’m sure they balanced what they’d invested with what was being lost in bad will. Although they’d used the phrase in some Home Depot campaigns, they hadn’t yet “gone national” with it so there was little lost in terms of public recognition. Since garden writers, bloggers and others were seeing this as another case of SMG being a bully, using YCGT was just another reason to badmouth the company at a time when they need good press. I also hear that someone put in a good word for me with one of the higher-ups at SMG. I personally think that it was no coincidence that once I pointed all the url’s I owned at Amy Stewart’s garden rant post I hear from them…but I could be wrong. In any case, we can applaud them for, in this one instance, doing the right thing. And then we move on.

    Here’s my approach: I don’t want to spend much time or energy on ScottsMiracle-Gro. I want to focus on the ways that plants and gardens enrich our lives. Moving forward toward something better? You can grow that!

  23. 23
    Dee Nash (@reddirtramblin):

    So glad to hear this. I think they may have backed off also because of prior usage. I used to work with trademarks and service marks, and prior usage is a big deal. Because many people were using the phrase all over the country, that would cause a corporate headache. Coupled with the outrage here and on Garden Rant, someone at Scott’s must have considered the whole situation a public relations and legal nightmare. Just my thoughts. Yes, let’s all celebrate what we can grow.~~Dee

  24. 24
    Rebecca Sweet:

    Fabulous, fabulous news! I loved the post on Garden Rant and was hoping someone with a shred of a soul over at Scotts would do the right thing. Gives me a small glimmer of hope for that company. I’m very happy for you!

  25. 25
    Teresa (@SeasonalWisdom):

    So nice to hear a happy ending to this story. I agree with Dee Nash that it was looking like a PR nightmare for the company, and the power of social media really does shine the light on issues quickly, as Kathy Jentz said. The post in Garden Rant was very effective too. Here’s to the company doing the right thing for the gardening community! Teresa

  26. 26
    The popular "You Can Grow That" returns to the garden bloggers:

    [...] Two days ago, a "miracle" occurred! The Director of Public Relations for Scott's MiracleGro contacted C.L. to let her know Scotts decided to let the trademark application expire. This leaves the phrase open for C.L. to trademark and continue to use. Hooray for this update! [...]