Cuprinol. Saving a wonderful old brand from the scrapheap.

Cuprinol from i2i on Vimeo.

It began almost costing my job and ended with an IPA Advertising Effectiveness award. In the early 80’s Cuprinol was one of those DIY household names that had become desperately unfashionable simply by virtue of having been around for so long.

Then owned by the German Berger-Magicote giant, there was a real possibility of the loss-making factory in Somerset shutting down altogether.

The arrival in the market of ICI and Sterling Roncraft with competitive brands forced the company to look at increasing their advertising spend; but they didn’t have enough money to make any real impact. Faced with the prospect of doing a middleweight press campaign I suggested they save up and do a proper TV job the following year. Client agreed.

This infuriated the agency account director, whose bonus was attached to the budget. But over the year we developed a TV theme, built round a classic product demo and the strapline In the wood for good, all designed to reinvigorate the brand and give it a reason to live.

The night before the campaign broke, the account director, who by then had partially forgiven me, returned from a client meeting. “This had bloody better work’ he advised,’ they’ve got so much stock the factory is packed to the roof and they’ve had to kick the directors out of their car park to make room for more.” Nothing like pressure then.

Three months later the directors’ cars were back in their park and we were planning their next TV campaign, for Cuprinol Wood Stains. When it was submitted it came back with one revision. Would we call the company Berger-Cuprinol please? The agency asked me if I’d like a Porsche.