Digging back through the archives to 2015, one of my favourite campaigns of all time comes from the most unlikely of places. Paint.
A genuine purpose-driven, heartstring-tugging tearjerker from American DIY impresario Valspar who took a razor-sharp insight and ran with it to create a singularly beautiful piece of work that didn't quite make it to the mainstream UK media (but really should have).
The Big Idea
Having already built a business around paint and the concept of bringing the vibrancy of colour to the masses, some rather brilliant person alighted on the fact that 300 million people worldwide were incapable of viewing its wares.
The colourblind. A minority who view the world through muted palettes as a matter of genetic hardwiring.
Having set its sights on this very specific section of society, Valspar embarked on a mission to bring the full spectrum of colour to the worlds of those who can’t appreciate it. Whilst reminding those who can, to appreciate and cherish colour in its many forms.
Which led to the activation in question…
What They Did
Under the banner of ‘Color For the Colorblind’ a series of short videos were and packaging into a mini-online documentary featuring colour-blind individuals giving touching testimonials on their disability to the camera.
Feelings of self-consciousness as kids, limitations in their home lives and careers or the simple fact that one father is not being able to see the crayon drawings made for him by his kids.
Enter Valspar and an innovative partnership with EnChroma – purveyors of sunglasses aimed at manipulating the light to help the colour-blind see (colour) again.
Over a bed of soaring piano, the unadulterated joy of each is thrown up on the screen as they see the world in full colour once again.
Tears, laughter and a genuine sense of wellbeing emote from the screen as our protagonists see art installations, children’s sketches and the setting sun with new eyes.
Dropping the ad online, the delivery saw a social campaign use #colorforall to invite others to submit their stories. Gifting glasses to the most compelling with 1,500 others filming their reaction to a brave new world of colour.
What followed was a slew of broadcast, print and social across the US and the installation of EnChroma specs at America's domestic DIY stores and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago – so the afflicted few can experience artworks to their fullest.
Outside of the utter simplicity of the idea, beautifully crafted content and a flawless delivery – the astonishing bit is the amazing insight at the heart of the campaign.
Astonishing, but also staring everyone in the face.
That’s the amazing bit.
A nugget of inspiration from which everything else flowed and helped an ostensibly functional paint brand deliver an emotional gut-punch of the highest order.
It was brilliant in 2015. It remains brilliant today.
Following in the footsteps of the likes of Dove (and using the same director behind their 'Real Beauty Sketches' campaign) as a piece of activity, it delivers at every level and makes you give a shit about house paint.
In my book, that's epic.