Valspar Paints launches in the UK


Key Points                                   

  • Valspar Paints needed to build brand awareness and drive sales in a competitive market
  • They made an emotional connection with consumers via a strategy of inspiring the inspiration seekers
  • Sales were up 28%

The Challenge

US paint brand Valspar has been around for more than 200 years but only launched in the UK in 2015. They have a unique proposition, as Valspar has no ready-made colours in store. Instead, all their paint is mixed to order in store. Either a customer selects from a colour rack of 2,000 coloured chips or they use Valspar’s leading colour matching technology.

Valspar are the exclusive paint-mixing partners of B&Q, so one of the objectives of the campaign was to drive consumers in store and also to position B&Q as having the best paint department.

There were two significant challenges that needed to be overcome if the launch was going to be a success. They had a comparatively modest budget in a high spending sector containing a number of well established brands and Valspar has a higher price point than leading competitors. They knew they would have to make an emotional engagement with consumers in order to give them a reason to choose them.

They had three key objectives:

  • Grow rapid, then sustained awareness of the Valspar brand
  • Drive improvement in key brand metrics to help build emotional engagement with consumers and create distance from price-focussed messaging
  • Drive sales at B&Q

The TV Solution

When looking at a potential target audience, Valspar’s media agency, Havas Media surmised that it was most likely to be 25 to 45 ABC1 adults with a slight female skew.  Their insight about the product was that Valspar’s colour matching offering meant that customers could achieve any interior design look they wanted. The customer brings the vision and inspiration and Valspar can provide the colour. This led them to a strategy they called “inspire the inspiration seekers”.

TV was identified as the lead medium because it offered the perfect combination of rich, high quality visuals and immersive, inspiring content. They knew that by placing the Valspar ads into that environment, they would reach an engaged audience and also quickly drive brand awareness and salience.

Because Valspar did not have budgets that were comparable to other leading paint brands, Havas Media knew they had to be creative and clever with their media planning and buying. They wanted to try and appear bigger and more impactful to the target audience. Their approach to this had three parts.

The Plan

Part one – Launch

They launched with a three week brand awareness campaign in February and March 2015, targeting Inspiration Seekers via appropriate content. They wanted to drive rapid 1+ reach and so ran across a large number of channels, reaching 73% of ABC1 adults. Initially, they ran with a 40 second copy to maximise impact before dropping down to a 30 second edit.

The ad ended with an “available at B&Q” strapline to reinforce their commercial partnership and drive footfall into store.

Part two – beyond launch

Now that Valspar had been introduced to the market and had established visibility, they migrated into phase two which was more of a slower burn, frequency driving approach.  They wanted to create a relationship with their target audience and reach them while they were in the right frame of mind. This led Havas Media to negotiate an exclusive partnership with Channel 4, where they focussed on relevant environments such as Location, Location, Location, Billion Pound Hotel, Love it or List it, Restoration Man and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.

This strategy meant a concentrated brand presence in the right programming over a four month period for a small budget. By focussing on one channel, they could drive the perception that the activity was disproportionally larger than it actually was and it enabled them to be on air every week, delivering longevity across key summer months. Supporting the linear TV, they had activity on All4 in lifestyle content to drive incremental reach

Part three – Retail call to action

To maximise the campaign’s impact, they collaborated with B&Q and their media agency, MEC.  They identified key times when both brands were on air and working with Channel 4, they shared information about their spot laydown.  This meant they could run both ads in the same break – first the 30 second Valspar brand ad and then the 10 second call to action B&Q ad. This meant that they could hammer home Valspar’s availability at B&Q’s paint mixing desks and also supercharge sales.

The three parts of this campaign would combine to ensure that Valspar maximised their budget to raise awareness, inspire the Inspiration Seekers and drive sales.

To support the TV campaign, they used VoD, skins on ‘inspiration’ sites and a partnership with The Guardian which involved articles on colour.


  • Prior to launch, awareness for Valspar was 22% but five months into the activity, awareness had increased to 34% - an uplift of 55%
  • They saw significant improvements in brand metrics such as “innovative”, “brand leader”, “brand trust” and “inspirational”.
  • Valspar sales were up 28% quarter on quarter

Our first TV campaign was a massive success, and a real statement of how we want to establish Valspar as THE inspirational paint brand in the UK. TV allowed us to excite customers about our product, and get them thinking about all the colour possibilities we could deliver for them. Havas’ strategy of using Channel 4 to give us longevity, and the additional support we got from collaborating with our partner B&Q, ensured fantastic sales figures. We are very pleased.

Jonathan Greeno Senior Marketing Manager at Valspar Consumer – Europe


Sector: Household goods

Brand: Valspar Paints

Campaign objectives: To launch the brand into the UK, drive awareness and sales 

Target Audience: ABC1 adults

Budget: £2m+

Campaign Dates: The campaign ran from 13th February to 25th May 2015

TV Usage: 30 and 40 second spots

Creative Agency: FCB Inferno    

Media Agency:  Havas Media

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