Challenges, problems, and triumphs
-- from a manufacturer's perspective.
A Savvy Way To Introduce a New Line
Put it in the hands of consumers and teachers.
by Staff Report (July 16, 2007)
More than 20,000 decorative painters have already sampled Plaid's
new FolkArt® High Definition™ (HD) Visual Texture paint,
even before the product hits store shelves in August.
Introduced at the 2007 CHA Winter Show where it won a best new
product award, the program has captured the interest of painters
with special features such as its highly defined brush strokes and
unique, light reflecting appearance.
While the paint itself can be credited with much of the advance
excitement, Plaid has enhanced the anticipation by implementing
several marketing strategies that have played a role in perhaps the
biggest product launch in Plaid's history. "Product sampling
and education have long been key to the success of any new product
introduction in our industry," said VP of Marketing Debbie
Henley. "By connecting with consumers first and giving them an
opportunity to try something new, we are building awareness,
generating excitement, and driving consumers to retail stores to
For six months prior to the retail launch of FolkArt HD,
Plaid implemented a variety of activities geared to reach different
audiences. FolkArt HD's official debut was a TV home shopping
event in March. The immediate feedback from consumers was
tremendous:"HD paint is awesome ... like nothing I've
ever used before! The results are spectacular!" And another:
"I did my first [HD] project today and was amazed. The
color and texture are wonderful!"
Responses were much the same in June when Donna Dewberry
introduced FolkArt HD to more than 600 attendees at the Super
Education convention. The artists tried HD for the first
time, learning about the paint, its special attributes, and One
Stroke techniques during several hours of intense hands-on
training and painting.
This month HD One Stroke Teacher Training Kits will be
sent to participating retail stores, designed to introduce teachers
to the new program and techniques. A key kit component is a one-hour
DVD produced exclusively for teachers. Donna Dewberry explains the
program's components, product features, and benefits, and new HD
painting techniques. Teachers are also given tips and techniques for
successful class programs, plus a sample class curriculum.
Earlier this month, Plaid introduced FolkArt HD to the
Society of Decorative Painters by sponsoring a painting contest with
cash prizes. More than 2,000 members accepted the challenge and were
sent an HD sampler kit and canvas blanks to submit for
judging later this fall.
An additional 3,500 paint enthusiasts will have been introduced
to FolkArt HD at major consumer shows this summer. FolkArt
HD painting displays and technique demos were showcased at the
recent SDP convention and will also be spotlighted at the upcoming Artist
"This has truly been a focused grassroots effort to get the
product into consumers' hands," Henley added. "Our goal is
to generate excitement among consumers and increase visibility not
only for the product, but the entire decorative painting
"As Plaid is committed to innovative new product
development, we remain equally dedicated to investing in marketing
and education programs that drive consumers to retail," added
Plaid President Mike McCooey.
For more information on the FolkArt HD program, visit www.plaidonline.com
and select "catalogs."
Mike Hartnett comments.
Many years ago when painting was a very strong category, I walked
the Society of Decorative Painters show with Pete Rutley, the VP of
Craft World, at the time probably the largest distributor in the
In those days there were approximately 20 lines of squeeze-bottle
acrylic paint in the market, all scrambling for shelf space in
retail stores. We turned at the end of an aisle and started another
aisle and saw Decoart for the first time. "What?" we both
uttered, "Another acrylic paint?"
We both assumed the field was already so crowded that Decoart's Americana
line didn't have a prayer, regardless of its price or quality.
I asked Pete if he was interested in adding the Americana
line. "Absolutely not," he said. "I already have too
many lines of paint in the warehouse."
"What does this company have to do to get you to add the
line?" I asked.
"I have to start getting requests for it from my
customers," Pete said.
It wasn't too long after that conversation that Americana
became one of the top three squeeze-bottle-acrylic lines in the
industry. How did Decoart accomplish that feat? The company gave
away thousands of bottles of paint, especially to teachers.
And yes, Pete added the line.
(To read previous "Vinny" columns, click on the titles
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topics, email CLN at firstname.lastname@example.org.)