This is a top soil marketing effort from Trigger

It was a dirt cheap execution, but a new stunt campaign from Calgary’s Trigger Advertising is the perfect embodiment of the old expression “show, don’t tell.”

It was developed for the city’s Eagle Lake Professional Landscape Supply to promote one of its products, the Big Yellow Bag of soil. Trigger placed the Big Yellow Bag—which contains one cubic yard of gardening soil or mulch—at the base of fully grown trees throughout the city, creating the illusion they had sprouted from the bag.

The campaign runs through the end of the month, with bags randomly appearing at locations throughout the city. Eagle Lake said that its sales of the Big Yellow Bag, which range in price from $159 up to $249 depending on the product it contains, are on pace to beat a record-breaking 2020.

“Sometimes you just need to let the Big Yellow Bag do all the talking,” said Eagle Lake’s marketing manager, Brian Bolger. “Nothing says quality better than seeing a beautiful tree growing out of our soil.”

Big Yellow Bag was launched in 1994 by Kitchener, Ont.-based Greenhorizons Sod Farms, which claims to be the first company in North America to market soil in one cubic yard bags.

It has since become what the company calls an “anchor brand,” selling more than 1 million bags in more than 100 cities. Its success has led to a wave of copycat products like “My Big Dirt Bag,” Walmart’s “Less Mess Enviro Bag” and Home Depot’s “Yard to You.”

“The product itself—literally a big, yellow bag of soil that you can order right to your door like a pizza—is a unique offering, so we needed to come up with a one-of-a-kind way to show it,” said Trigger’s creative director, Todd Blevins. “The fact that the bag itself acts as its own billboard makes for a very simple and effective marketing tool, so we came up with a way to use it as the key element in guerrilla advertising campaign.”

Chris Powell