Friday 18 August 2017

Paint firm brings a little colour to campaign to reverse slump

Facebook helped Sandtex reverse a 40pc plunge in sales. Photo: Bloomberg
Facebook helped Sandtex reverse a 40pc plunge in sales. Photo: Bloomberg

GENERATING a buzz around an outdoor paint brand might sound like an unlikely prospect, but Sandtex seems to have done just that this summer after its Facebook campaign helped reverse a 40pc plunge in sales.

Launched in May, Sandtex's 'Ireland Deserves Sun' campaign was designed to play on Sandtex's need for summer sun to drive sales, and the public's need for summer sun to banish pasty bodies and recession blues.

With sales down 40pc for the first four months to April, the paint-seller needed to make its annual €120,000 summer spend go further than the fortnight of above the line activity it could buy. The services of Pembroke Communications, online agency Radical and ad agency Bloom were enlisted, and an entirely new departure for Sandtex emerged.

"Social networking was the ideal thing for longevity, so we put a lot of effort into that, even though it was our first time," says senior brand manager John Conroy.

After an initial bout of billboard and bus advertising bemoaning the 'Bummer Summer', Sandtex focused exclusively on Twitter and an interactive Facebook site where the 'Sandtex Insider' gave fans the chance to win prizes and interacted with their posts.

Facebook users were also encouraged to harness the rain-defying forces of the Child of Prague, prompting them to submit dozens of pictures of the statues in various incarnations, and prompting Sandtex to give out 1,000 of the little fellas as prizes.

"We were hoping for about 2,000 fans and we got more than 10,000. We hoped we could keep it going for six weeks and we've gotten three months," says Conroy. "The whole campaign really dialled into something in the public and we've been thrilled with it."

The rewards are evident in Sandtex's bottom line -- sales for the first eight months of the year are now running 11pc ahead of last year's, after sales surged by almost 60pc in some summer months. "We'd like to think 'Ireland Deserves Sun' could become an annual thing and we'll certainly be looking at more social networking," says Conroy.

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