Sico ads upbeat, off-beat

The latest TV campaign from Quebec paint manufacturer, Sico, shoots bullets at one of the conventions of advertising this product.Created by Montreal-based agency BCP Strategy-Creativity, it challenges the age-old practice of showing happy people happily painting the walls of their home.Having...

The latest TV campaign from Quebec paint manufacturer, Sico, shoots bullets at one of the conventions of advertising this product.

Created by Montreal-based agency BCP Strategy-Creativity, it challenges the age-old practice of showing happy people happily painting the walls of their home.

Having fun

‘Have you ever seen people having fun painting?’ asks Maurice Van Themsche, concepteur/writer at BCP and a member of the creative team that developed the new institutional campaign for Sico.

Not that bcp’s tv spots depict gloomy, sweaty families dragging drooping arms across never-ending walls.

The tone in the bcp spots is upbeat and off-beat.

Three institutional tv spots constituted the conceptual and creative fountainhead for this year’s multimedia French-language campaign. Sico also used radio, newspaper, billboard and point-of-purchase advertising.

One spot, entitled ‘Quatre Saisons’ (‘Four Seasons’), shows a man living through several years of the four seasons.

There are fast-paced shots of him fanning himself in the heat, shivering in a snowstorm, holding a tennis racket and sweeping leaves.

Sico and bcp opted for 15-second spots as a strategy to reach channel changers and ad zappers. Two 15-second spots run in every two-minute commercial time-slot bought.

‘They can’t escape us,’ quips Sico Marketing Director Pierre Camirand.

The narrated copy reads, ‘Sico fabrique une peinture qui resiste parfaitement annee apres annee,’ or, loosely in English, ‘Sico makes paint which lasts incredibly well year after year.’

The narrated slogan, or tag, in each of the three spots is: ‘Sico prevoit le pire pour vous offrir le meilleur,’ or, ‘Sico forecasts the worst to offer you the best.’

Each spot ends with the graphic signature: ‘Ca change tout,’ or, ‘[Sico paint] changes everything,’ meaning, says Van Themsche, that Sico paint transforms your world. It also refers to the high quality of the paint.

The other consistent element, which appears at the end of each spot, is the ‘valeur sure’ logo. It corresponds with Sico’s product and pricing policy of offering maximum value or the best price relative to quality.

Pitching quality

Pitching quality is what this campaign is all about. The durability of the exterior paint is conveyed in the ‘Quatre Saisons’ spot. The interior paint is pitched in two other spots known as the ‘Hippy’ spot and ‘Les Testeurs.’

The ‘Hippy’ spot shows a young couple visiting their new apartment to find it painted in a kind of peace-symbolled psychedelia. Sico to the rescue with a more updated look conveying the paint’s ability to cover well.

‘Les Testeurs’ shows a troop of children attacking a wall with paints. The walls come clean and the Sico paint retains its original condition.

Van Themsche says there are creative constraints with the Sico account, but they are the kind of constraints with which an ad agency is happy to live. ‘Our advertising has to reinforce our leadership position in the market.’

The strategy to promote quality was based on consumer research revealing that quality was the most important thing for consumers, Camirand says.

It is also a strategy which is congruent with Sico’s product strategy of manufacturing and marketing primarily high quality paint.

It also sells second- and third-line paint, but the Sico brand name and Crown Diamond label which Sico owns are well-established first-line brand names.

Sico is very much a local player, selling almost all of its paint in Quebec and another great portion of that in Montreal. Camirand says it also does well in the Ottawa market and in ‘small pockets in Ontario.’

But it is a big local player, controlling with its Crown Diamond brand 50% of the do-it-yourself market. ‘We have the greatest market share in the Quebec market,’ Camirand says.

Sico buys more than $2 million of media annually. Crown Diamond is part of this budget.

Camirand says the media mix is different for the two brands, adding Sico wants Crown Diamond to continue to be seen as a separate brand.

Sico’s annual campaign runs from March through to June.