Note to residents of selected neighborhoods in Central Kentucky: If you find a black nylon Velcro wallet in your driveway, do not be alarmed, call police or try to return the "driver's license" included therein. You also didn't just stumble upon lost treasure.
The wallet is a clever advertising packet for A Plus Lawn and Landscape Inc. of Lawrenceburg. It includes a business card for owner John Rennels that looks like a Kentucky driver's license, various cards for discounts and specials, and two fake currencies giving A Plus' phone number and website.
Rennels said he has researched how to get a better response out of direct-to-consumer advertising. Much of the advertising is immediately discarded by the consumer and yields little response, he said.
Rennels wanted something different.
"We had done the direct-mail thing for four to five years, so we thought we'd shake it up a little bit," he said Monday.
The question, he said, was: "How could we take this driveway drop ... and make it something that people are going to pick up?"
People most definitely will pick up a wallet.
Rennels got 10,000 of them from China and stuffed them with his promotional materials.
Then he started distributing them to select neighborhoods. About 5,000 of the wallets have been distributed. A Plus' service area includes Scott, Woodford, Franklin, Fayette and Anderson counties.
Residents of Lexington's Masterson Station neighborhood received their wallets over the weekend.
Distribution of wallets is the sort of thing that guarantees all kinds of attention.
In Scott County, one of Rennels' distribution crews was pulled over by the sheriff's department, who were suspicious of them throwing things into yards. The Franklin County sheriff's department called Rennels to ask about the rash of calls from people trying to return his "wallet."
Heather Cleary, a spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau, said that A Plus has an A-plus rating with the bureau and that she had received no complaints about the unusual advertising packet.
Rennels said he's not sure what the effect of the wallet-based guerilla marketing campaign will be on his business.
"It's hard to say yet," he said. "We're still tabulating the results."