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Benjamin Moore Rolls Out New Ad Campaign With Aggressive Social Networking Component

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(TORONTO, ON - APRIL, 2010) - Gushing about a paint brand is uncommon. But, the mere mention of Benjamin Moore Paint, a Canadian standard for more than a century, uniquely pushes emotional buttons among a fan base of loyalists who rhapsodize about the colours...or tell you exactly what colour by name and complex code number they last used...or admonish that if you use anything but, you'll be constantly repainting.

So, for its 2010, $1.4 million Canadian advertising campaign, Benjamin Moore has capitalized on this rare level of unabashed and enthusiastic brand preference. It has brought together top design and paint industry mavens from both Canada and the U.S. who favour the company's products and posed them in a photo portrait inspired by Vanity Fair magazine's Hollywood Issue covers. The headline reads, "Paint With The Very Best" and is tagged with a double entendre final statement, "For Those Who Know More." As compelling as the print ads are, they are - along with a smattering of TV co-op spots -  just the tip of the iceberg. A Facebook campaign is a colossal and integral component, representing nearly 76% of the total ad spend.

In fact, according to Nick Harris, Benjamin Moore's Senior Manager Marketing Communications, "We're creating a Facebook on steroids program that potentially will stir consumer fans to meet up with paint and style experts and aficionados for an online cocktail party of conversation about decorating with paint and colour."

The Who's Who Ad Stars  
Though they are neither paparazzi prey nor household names, the personalities starring in the Benjamin Moore campaign are bona fide design and paint experts who, in the decorating world (and in the magazines where the ads appear), are recognizable and respected. The Canadian contingent includes Montreal-based architect Vladimir Topouzanov and Toronto's Brian Gluckstein, an acclaimed interior designer. The two join six fellow "experts" from the U.S. in the double-page ensemble ad that breaks in the May issues of Canadian House & Home and Style at Home , plus will enjoy a run in numerous U.S.-based titles. 

The Canadian program continues with Spring and Fall insertions in both those publications, as well as in Western Living and Home Décor , but with creative that features additional "experts" in solo spots and one-page buys. This line-up includes Kelly Deck, a Vancouver-based designer who hosts HGTV's "Take It Outside;" Ramsin Khachi, who's well known in Toronto and to audiences of "Cityline;" and designer Gluckstein, who stepped out of the group shot for a single-portrait treatment. The print ads that feature Deck, Khachi and Gluckstein additionally were translated into :30 and :15 second spots airing on "Cityline," where Benjamin Moore has been a long-time sponsor. 

"We surveyed 3,000 design and painting professionals," said Harris. "And, 80 percent overwhelmingly said they recommend Benjamin Moore over any other paint." This statistic actually is featured in the text of the ad, which then prompts readers to "See who else loves Benjamin Moore at  facebook.com/BenjaminMoorePaints. "

The Interactive Internet Initiative 
Benjamin Moore is aggressively using a new Facebook application to unite the community of experts "who know more" with consumers who are hungry to learn more about decorating, design, colour selection and paint. At Experts Exchange, visitors will be able to connect not only with the ad's experts but also with dozens of other designers and hands-on painting contractors who Benjamin Moore will be regularly welcoming to join the site. Currently, video conversations with the ad stars can be viewed and there is an Ask the Experts tab, allowing a dialogue for advice and tips. On the flip side, the participating experts will have a forum for showing off their portfolio of work, a helpful promotional perq for their individual businesses. And, there will be occasional real-time live Ask the Expert sessions that will let visitors upload their own colour/painting makeover projects to obtain suggestions and critiques from the professionals. 

Additionally, an Events tab will help direct consumers to local retailer programs, sales events and other in-store activities. 

According to Harris, the Facebook component will be operational in mid-April to coincide with the break of the print ads. He conservatively estimates that the company's Facebook fans could quadruple by year's end. It currently numbers close to 5,000.

The Campaign Strategists 
It was, to a large degree, the unsolicited testimonials and anecdotal footnotes of praise that have flooded Benjamin Moore and its North American operations over the decades that helped inspire Cramer-Krasselt/New York to develop the creative. Then, of course, the survey results - 80% design professionals recommend the brand over all others - were an affirming spark.

Adding the Canadian translation and spin to the concept was Groundzero Marketing Communications, Toronto. 

According to Harris, Benjamin Moore, which has under a 10 percent market share, has always been outspent in advertising by its competitors, who rely heavily on TV. The company's print buy this year was judicious and strategic, allowing it to go full tilt with the online initiative but bridging in the most organic way between the two types of media. Benjamin Moore is banking heavily on this investment in social networking, which its competitors have yet to leverage as extensively or inventively.  

"With Facebook now rivaling Google for the most-trafficked site on the Web, consumers increasingly expect interactive experiences within the Facebook platform, because that's where they're spending their time," said Gabe Dorosz, VP, Interactive for Cramer-Krasselt/New York. "Few brands are taking advantage of this opportunity to engage and grow a loyal customer base, and Benjamin Moore is way ahead of the competition. This application doesn't just support our campaign message that Benjamin Moore is the brand of choice among design experts, it allows consumers to interact directly with those experts to see Benjamin Moore as a key resource for design-related thinking." 

About Benjamin Moore
Benjamin Moore & Co., a Berkshire Hathaway company, was founded in 1883. One of the country's leading manufacturers of premium quality residential, commercial and industrial maintenance paints and other coatings, its products are distributed via a network of independent paint and decorating retailers throughout North America. Benjamin Moore has been a longstanding steward of the environment with a relentless commitment to sustainable manufacturing practices plus the ongoing development of the most eco-responsible paint formulations possible. Its portfolio of Green Promise® products continues to grow and includes Aura®, an über-performance low-VOC paint; Natura®, the true zero-VOC interior paint, remaining zero after tinting in any color, any sheen; and EcoSpec® zero-VOC paint for commercial interiors. The J.D. Power & Associates 2011 Interior Paint Satisfaction Study ranked Benjamin Moore highest in consumer satisfaction. What's more, the Benjamin Moore color offering of 3,300 hues is unrivaled, but any custom color choice can be matched, as was recently done for the White House Oval Office ceiling and trims. The only assurance of getting an authentic Benjamin Moore color is using Benjamin Moore paint, since the colorants and resins are proprietary and formulated with the company's own patented waterborne technologies. And, authentic Benjamin Moore colors are available exclusively from Benjamin Moore retailers.

Press Contacts:

Kimberlee Bradshaw
Director of Corporate Communications
Benjamin Moore & Co.
corpcomm@Benjaminmoore.com


or

Strategic Objectives Public Relations
416-366-7735
BMoore@strategicobjectives.com

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