Dulux’s latest series of advertisements harness social media and storytelling, creating an experimental and emotive campaign.

When did you last see a paint campaign that stirred your emotions?

Historically, paint advertising has made DIY seem like a chore, highlighting the functional qualities of paint (coverage and ease of use) with literal depictions of the idea of renewal. Paint-spattered husbands reluctantly perch on wobbly stepladders, and expectant parents convert box rooms into nurseries just in the nick of time.

In February Dulux aired its ‘Change your story with Dulux’ campaign, a Prohibition era-inspired black and white TV ad, stunningly transformed by colour. This brilliant idea celebrated paint as an enabler of self-expression, dramatising the power of colour and making it glamorous, if not downright sexy.

Fast-forward to October. The clocks have gone back, autumn is here, leaves are falling and each day seems a little darker and greyer.  Against this gloomy backdrop, Dulux has taken to the streets in a bid to surprise and inspire passers-by, brightening up outdoor spaces and demonstrating the transformational power of colour in unexpected places.

#colourbritain is an experiential, social media and PR campaign which uses colour to tell the stories of selected cities across Britain. Top artists and illustrators work their magic on a series of giant blank billboards to create murals that celebrate the local stories, heritage and culture of each chosen city. Online, feature interviews with the artists and time-lapse videography of the installations provide interesting, share-worthy content, expanding the reach of the experience and making the campaign social at heart – with the public deciding the location of the eight murals via the brand’s social media channels (Twitter/ Facebook) with the hashtag #colourbritain.

All in all it’s a very compelling campaign. More than that, it provides some useful pointers for retailers – here are just four key take-away points:

  1. Localisation and personalisation enrich experiences and enable people to connect
  2. Be collaborative – prompt audience participation by giving people a role in your story
  3. Be brave and step out of the norm – surprise and inspire people unexpectedly
  4. Inspire people – help them see beyond what they need to do to what’s in it for them if they choose your brand
  • Matt Pye is chief operating officer at advertising and marketing agency Cheil UK