Engine Eddie comes to inboxes

Briggs & Stratton, the leading manufacturer of gasoline-powered lawn equipment engines, has developed a new online character to market to younger demographics. “Engine Eddie” is an animated talking-head lawnmower sent through “Eddie Grams” at www.eddiegram.com and relays messages either trashing the recipient’s lawn or bragging on the sender’s.

He derives his name from former G.M. executive and secretary of defense, Charles Erwin Wilson, nicknamed “Engine Charlie.” Other activities on the site include “pimp your lawn” where visitors can add accessories and décor.

The character was conceived by marketers to reach out to a new generation around the company’s 100th anniversary. Briggs & Stratton are trying to attract people in the 25-35 age range who use the Internet as a learning tool in the age of the self-directed consumer and tend to read blogs.

The EddieGram campaign operates on a $250,000 budget and has so far succeeded in its marketing goals. Briggs & Stratton had initially set out for a 70 percent “open-rate” of EddieGrams, a 10 percent pass-along rate and a 20 percent repeat visitor rate, all of which have been surpassed.

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