The Enduring Tale of Our Plastic Plant: Lessons in Growth and Laughter

Over 20 years ago we purchased our first office building, a little bungalow in South Tampa. We were anxious to make that first big financial commitment. After the closing, the building’s previous owner sent us a beautiful plant to celebrate. Kevin Marshall (Co-Founder) loved this plant and watered it religiously. He was so proud of how the plant was thriving under his care. He told the rest of us we weren’t allowed to touch it!

After a few months, we noticed something odd. The plant hadn’t grown. But it also never wilted. In fact, the plant hadn’t changed at ALL. On closer inspection, a few of us realized it was an artificial plant. Yes, you read that correctly. The plant was FAKE!

For six more months we all enjoyed watching Kevin lovingly water his plant and didn’t have the heart to tell him. In the end, the laughter that we could not contain gave us away and we never let him live it down.

Twenty years later, we still have the fake plastic plant! At times it has been neglected, but at every move or office reorganization, we couldn’t bring ourselves to throw it away. We end up telling the story of Kevin watering the plant, and it always makes us laugh.

When we look at “the plant” we see many things – 

  1. Things are not always what they seem. Sometimes things are better; sometimes they are worse. But, in the end things reveal themselves, and you can always learn and grow.
  1. Marshall Advertising is a living, breathing “thing.” We are not plastic, but an imperfect human team working together to lift up each other, our clients, and our partners. 
  1. Nothing remains the same, and that’s okay too. Even our fake plant that is older than the legal drinking age has changed. The colors have faded, and the leaves are not as perky. Our plastic plant still has a purpose and plays a role.
  1. We are still motivated today by what motivated us in the very beginning – helping our clients, team…and plants… grow! 

Now we have lots of ACTUAL LIVING plants in our office! We love them all and they make our space feel more alive. There is something wonderful about seeing a living thing thrive.

2023 was a year of tremendous learning and growth for everyone and we look forward to what the new year brings.                                

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