Scotts and Miracle-Gro try to Bribe a Groundhog Into an Early Spring

By Kyle O'Brien 

It’s Groundhog Day, which means everyone will stake their next six weeks of weather forecasting to a furry rodent. Lawn and garden brands Scotts and Miracle-Gro are trying to ensure that those next six weeks look more like spring than winter.

The spring fanatics at the brands are trying to bribe Punxsutawney Phil—the legendary groundhog who predicts how long the winter season will be. Tradition has it that if Phil sees his shadow on February 2, the winter season will continue for six more weeks. If he doesn’t see his shadow, it means that spring will come early.

To bribe Phil, Scotts and Miracle-Gro put teams on the ground in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to put the pressure on him—from newspaper and radio ads, to roving billboards and yard signs, they’re determined to sway the prediction and secure an early spring for all.


The brands documented their efforts on TikTok, with a representative flying to the destination, getting a box truck that features the phrase “Phil, we have a bribe you can’t refuse” with a picture of a briefcase full of tasty veggies, then trying to get to Phil in his burrow.

@scotts_lawn Don’t pretend like you’re not cold, Phil. Accept the bribe.🕴️🧳@miraclegro #scottsbribesphil #groundhogday #punxsutawneyphil #punxsutawney #pa ♬ Cinematic(968752) – wiMu by Sho in Audiostock

If Phil delivers an early spring (post-event note, he didn’t), the brands will donate $10,000 to Phil’s caretakers to turn his home at Gobbler’s Knob into a groundhog oasis. But if he doesn’t and we’re sentenced to six more weeks of winter, the deal’s off for Phil, and Scotts and Miracle-Gro will unlock a one-day 22% off deal (a nod to the date of 2/2) on orders over $99 to help soften the blow for the brand’s gardeners. Consumers can help bribe Phil and follow the on-the-ground activity in Punxsutawney via Twitter with #ScottsBribesPhil.

The campaign was created by VaynerMedia, ScottsMiracle-Gro’s agency of record.