Craftsman is proving the strength and durability of their tools and garden tractors by sending a man 3,300 miles across the United States on one of their lawnmowers in their Craftsman Across America project. Lucas Van Engen, a bartender from New York, started his journey on a Craftsman tractor mower in Santa Monica, CA on May 14 and will end in New York on August 24 and has been broadcasting his journey via blog, Facebook and web video as he goes. Find out more about the Craftsman Across America project, and Craftsman’s social media strategy after the jump.
Craftsman Across America is not Craftsman’s first foray into the world of social media campaigning. Just a couple of months ago, Craftsman released a series of YouTube clips showing the strength and durability of their tools, including a viral music mash up from Kutiman, in a fun viral video campaign. However, the idea of driving a lawnmower across the country takes things to a whole new level.
Meet Lucas Van Engen, the man who is riding across the country on a lawnmower, in the clip below. Van Engen has been posting text and video about his trip on the Craftsman Across America Blog and the Craftsman Facebook page, which is currently liked by nearly 68,000 Facebook users.
I had the opportunity to ask Ryan Ostrom a few questions about the campaign. Ostrom is Director of Multi-Channel for Craftsman, DieHard and Kenmore. Here’s what he had to say:
ST: What is the idea behind the Craftsman Across America Project?
RO: Craftsman tractors are tested to mow over 5,000 miles (far longer than the life of a normal tractor mower). We thought it was a natural ‘torture test’ to drive over 3,300 miles across America to reinforce the quality and durability of Craftsman tractor mowers. While on the road, our goal is to meet as many people as possible from the places we pass through and capture those stories. You can follow the journey and see these stories on our blog at www.craftsmanacrossamerica.com. Commentary, photos and video are uploaded daily. We also wanted to give back to the communities we are traveling through and are donating $5,000 in eight cities to support their parks and recreation efforts. The money will help them keep their community space green for years to come.
ST:Â What have been some of the most exciting highlights from the journey thus far?
RO: Lucas gets a warm welcome wherever he goes, and in particular, when he stops in for visits at Sears Hometown Stores along the tour route. Recently, when visiting the Sears Hometown store in Pryor, OK he met many interesting people, including a two-year old boy named Rett who loves tractors! At the event, he also met a local a resident who actually racers tractors. He even got to drag race a beauty queen- Mrs. Oklahoma!
These types of experiences are what this program is about- interacting with and meeting interesting people from across the country.
ST: How are you using Facebook to promote the campaign and what other mean, if any, are you using?
RO: Throughout the journey, Lucas posts updates directly to our blog, which lives on the Craftsman Facebook page under the ‘Across the USA’ tab. Craftsman has a strong Facebook community with more than 46,000 fans. Our customers are active in social media and Facebook was the perfect place to host this information. Additionally, Lucas tweets about his travels at @Mower_Man, letting fans know where he has been and what the next city is on his route.
ST: What kind of response has the campaign gotten thus far? Are you happy with the results?
RO: Lucas has been on the road for 2.5 months and we couldn’t be happier with the results. As of July 30, he’s been on the road for 74 days. He has met so many Craftsman fans while driving through towns, both big and small, and has been welcomed with open arms- and all those experiences have been captured online to share with everyone at home through our blog.
What do you think about the Craftsman Across America Campaign? Do you think it’s an effective way to show the world the strength and durability of the Craftsman brand and product?