Let’s Colour: nice TV spot, but effective call to arms?

Case study Let’s Colour Project | client Dulux/AkzoNobel | Agency Euro RSCG – Documenting experiential painting events is at the core of Euro RSCG’s Let’s Colour campaign for Dulux paint which utilises TV, press, web and social media

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Euro RSCG’s Let’s Colour campaign for Dulux kicked off in spring this year with a TV spot featuring footage of a series of community painting events – four in total in Brazil, France, the UK and India – in which people came together to paint public and private spaces in bright colours.

Essentially these various happenings were experiential events in which local communities in different countries transformed what were dull or tatty spaces into something much more vibrant using Dulux colour paint – or the local equivalent brand.

The first four places to be transformed in this way (and which feature in the initial TV spot) were the streets of Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where a number of homes and a hotel lobby were painted by the Let’s Colour team along with dozens of local volunteers. A council estate in Aulnay-Sous-Bois, Paris, France also received the Let’s Colour treatment. “Since the 2005 riots this area has been in constant improvement and development, so it was the perfect area to bring some colour to the regeneration project that was already underway,” runs the explanation of the project on the Let’s Colour website at letscolourproject.com. “The Let’s Colour Project had such an impact that it encouraged the local residents to host their own painting event in addition to ours.”

Virginia primary school in Tower Hamlets, London, also features in the TV spot. Together with the parents, teachers and children of the school, the Let’s Colour team transformed the school’s playground, hall and a classroom with bright colour.

And the fourth of these initial events saw a community square, a school and the main road of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India get a splash of colour. Mainly shades of blue, purple and pink.

The TV spot can be viewed on the campaign website where visitors can also check out the campaign blog, run by Rebecca Campbell at Euro RSCG, which flags up interesting projects from around the world in which colour is a key component – from pieces of artwork to colourful furniture or fabric design and beyond.

Viewers can also navigate to the campaign’s Flickr page which now contains thousands of images of colourful buildings and people, with brushes and rollers in hand, painting.

Euro RSCG London is the global HQ for the campaign which, it was initially planned, would roll out in just four territories: the UK, France, China and Brazil. However, due to what we are told were overwhelmingly positive responses to the campaign, there are now 24 markets signed up to experience the campaign in one form or another, according to Ken Mulligan, account director for Dulux at Euro RSCG. These markets include Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, The Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey and Uruguay – all places where there is a Euro RSCG office. They are also all places where AkzoNobel (the company that owns the Dulux brand) produce and market Dulux or a consumer equivalent brand for which the campaign can also function.

Structure of the campaign
“The campaign is built on three principles,” explains Mulligan. “The first is ‘thought leadership’. We want Dulux to be the inspiration for people to actively use and consider colour in their lives. The second is a closer-to-home element. The print executions in this campaign are aimed at making you believe you can enhance your home with colour. The third principle of the campaign is a relationship element, it’s about ‘brand advocacy’, getting people locked into the brand and to create word of mouth between consumers in relation to the brand.”

Mulligan is keen to point out that there is no set formula for the campaign that can be applied to each market, as every market is different and needs to be approached accordingly. “In some markets it works to take the work as it stands – such as the TV spot – and in others it makes more sense to localise it appropriately – from the websites we build to the print executions we roll out, to the social media activity we oversee.” In most markets the campaign is at a very early stage, but Mulligan says that more painting events are planned in Turkey, China, South Africa and France. These will, of course, be documented to keep adding to the rich content this campaign is generating.


Nils Leonard, executive
creative director, Grey London

Ads that have a certain scale are lovely to behold, and this has scale. It also has an understanding of a crafted aesthetic and a sweet track. I just wish this didn’t feel like a Sony ad from the ‘like no other’ campaign five years ago. There’s no real edge here, or reason to get involved. It’s big. Too big. Too big to find genuinely inspiring. Certainly too big to get me off my arse and painting my living room.

The Let’s Colour Project is a potentially great platform that aims to move Dulux and its friends into a space where the world is happy that the company exists, a place where Dulux has a purpose.

But we’ve seen this before. It’s got that massive ambition. It’s got that massive sheen. Big, beautiful, global ads have these qualities but also pay the price for behaving in this way.

Am I going to take a paintbrush, race to Dulux and change my life? Sorry but I need work with more of a point of view to do that. I need a rub, a reason to hate the normal. I wish this work took a more brash point of view. I wish it reminded me of how drab the world was. I wish it inspired and frustrated me to a point where colour really was the only answer. The execution online certainly does nothing to really engage me.

Is this really a ‘project’, a cause to get behind? It could simply be an ad, albeit a beautiful one, with a URL in the endframe that includes the word ‘project’.

Flo Heiss
Creative partner, Dare Digital
Let’s Colour! I love this campaign. On a creative level, I think that
it has to be one of the best campaigns of this year. It involves local communities and ‘real people’ and makes the world a more colourful place. Literally.

On a strategic level it’s brilliant because it gives Dulux a platform to build on and run and run with.

And do you know what the best thing is? It’s a very straightforward product demo. Paint and people painting. That simple. Uncom-plicated and beautifully executed.

I wish more advertising was like this. Watching paint dry has suddenly become interesting.

And if you dive into the Let’s Colour Project online there is so much rich content there. You can get involved, find out about upcoming events. Again, simple and fluff-free. The blog is genuinely interesting and the photography charts a lovely picture of our planet. It’s just a shame that the cow that stepped in a bucket of blue paint in India didn’t make the final cut of the TV spot.

Micah Walker
creative director, Mojo Sydney

I appreciate that this might be a very different kind of thing for Dulux to do and certainly the idea of really helping people repaint significant pieces of their communities is an admirable thing to do for a paint company.

To be honest though, I find myself quite unaffected and bored by the TV spot as an execution. It feels like the better parts of this – the real stories and real lives involved – have been, you’ll have to excuse me, painted over.

A film with lots of people around the world involved in one, mass domino-like happening in time-lapse, with music smothered over the top, just feels uninspired and derivative.

It would just be too obvious to go into detail about the many ways this is a much less innovative and original campaign than the Bravia work from several years ago, but let’s face it, if you’re going to do a big visual piece using colour, the bar is set pretty high, and this, to my mind, just doesn’t really get there. ‘Colour like no other’ was also a much more differentiating statement about the product for Sony than ‘Let’s Colour’ is for Dulux.