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Benjamin Moore Rolls Out $15 Million Print Ad & Social Networking Campaign

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(NEW YORK, NY - APRIL, 2010) - Gushing about a paint brand is uncommon. But, the mere mention of Benjamin Moore Paint, an American standard for more than 125 years, uniquely pushes emotional buttons among a fan base of loyalists who rhapsodize about the colors...or tell you exactly what color 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 advertising campaign, Benjamin Moore has capitalized on this rare level of unabashed and enthusiastic brand preference. It has brought together eight top design and paint industry mavens who favor the company's products and posed them in a photo portrait inspired by Vanity Fair'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." It is due to break as a double-page spread in the May national editions of Elle Décor and House Beautiful; and, that same month, as a single-page horizontal in Country Living , Real Simple and Traditional Home , part of a regional buy that includes New York, Boston, Chicago, D.C. and San Francisco. Subsequently the ad will appear as a single-page horizontal in June, September and October issues of all five publications. 

The print advertising is just the starting point. With eight faces of design starring in the campaign, Facebook is an integral component. 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 color." 

Harris said that a whopping 76% of Benjamin Moore's total $15 million ad budget for 2010 is being dedicated to new media.

The Who's Who Ad Stars  
Though they are neither paparazzi prey nor household names, the eight 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. Perhaps the best known is interior designer Jamie Drake, whose celebrity clientele includes Michael Bloomberg and Madonna. Other interior designers who are featured are Darryl Carter, Celerie Kemble and Amy Lau. Canada, which accounts for approximately 15% of Benjamin Moore's North American business, is represented by designer Brian Gluckstein and architect Vladimir Topouzanov. Two professional painting contractors complete the group: Jeff Hester, of Chicago-based Hester Painting and Decorating, and Ralph Rossi, a principal of Pratt & D'Angelo Painting, from Westchester County, NY. 

"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, color selection and paint. At Experts Exchange,  visitors will be able to connect not only with the ad's eight 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 color/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. 

Northern Exposure
The Canadian edition of the campaign also debuts with the double-page portrait and is scheduled for the May issues of Canadian House & Home and Style at Home , that nation's leading shelter publications. The ad buy will continue with Spring and Fall insertions in both those publications, as well as in Western Living and Home Décor, but with creative that features individual Canadian "experts" whose names and/or faces resonate with that market's consumers. Kelly Deck, for instance, is a Vancouver-based designer who hosts "Take It Outside," a show that airs on HGTV in Canada. She will appear solo in a single-page "For Those Who Know More" ad. Then there's Ramsin Khachi, who's well known in Toronto and to audiences of "CityLine," that city's morning talk show staple. He, too, will be featured in a layout, as will 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. So, the Canadian version of the program, though slightly different, is equally as robust. 

The Campaign Strategists 
It was, to a large degree, the unsolicited testimonials and anecdotal footnotes of praise that have flooded Benjamin Moore 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 a compelling and affirming spark. 

The C-K team, which has been onboard with Benjamin Moore since fall of 2006, put the still portrait and video interviews in the hands of Mark Seliger, a veteran photographer whose work appears regularly in Vanity Fair as well as Rolling Stone and GQ , among others. 

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.

About Cramer-Krasselt 
Rapidly growing Cramer-Krasselt is the second-largest independent marketing and communications agency in the U.S., with billings nearing $1 billion. An Advertising Age " Agency to Watch" three years running, C-K has grown by nearly 50 percent since 2006. C-K is frequently recognized for its insight-driven creativity - spanning advertising, direct, interactive, engagement strategies and public relations - that helps clients change the conversation within their category. Headquartered in Chicago with offices in New York, Milwaukee and Phoenix, it represents major brands across virtually every industry, including: AirTran Airways, Benjamin Moore, Bissell, BRP (including Ski-Doo and Sea-Doo brands), Burlington Coat Factory, Corona Extra, Crocs, Inc., Edward Jones, H.J. Heinz Co., Johnsonville Sausage, Levitra, Porsche Cars North America, Sealy, Rayovac, TransUnion's TrueCredit.com and Zicam. For more information, visit Cramer-Krasselt at  www.c-k.com .

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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