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A Product In Search Of An Identity

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Maker of Synthetic Lumber Hires Pile and Co. to Conduct First Review
BOSTON--Trex Co., a manufacturer of high-end wood-polymer lumber used in various construction applications, has retained management consulting firm Pile and Co. here to oversee a search for an ad agency.
The Winchester, Va.-based client, founded six years ago as Mobil Chemical Co.'s Composite Products Division but now operates as an independent company, does not currently have an agency relationship.
Billings are in the $3-5 million range, according to Pile and Co. official Rick Hooker. Both creative and media duties are included in the review, he said.
Hooker referred all other questions to the client. Rachelle Shendow, associate marketing manager at Trex, would not comment on the review process.
Pile and Co. last week began contacting midsized agencies in New England, New York and the Southeast, sources said.
The review will likely be completed within four to six weeks.
The winning agency will be asked to create national consumer advertising supporting the Trex brand of wood-polymer lumber. The ability to create a strong brand message--ensuring that consumers equate the Trex name with high-quality home improvements--is essential.
The media mix and ultimate scope of the campaign will depend largely on what agencies present in the pitch, sources said.
The resulting work will be Trex's first large-scale advertising push, though the company has worked with small shops in the past on some limited marketing efforts, sources said.
The product itself is a kind of synthetic lumber made from waste wood fiber and reclaimed plastics. The company claims that, unlike wood, Trex will not rot or splinter and cannot be damaged by water or sunlight. The company also claims that the product is extremely durable, chemical- and pest-resistant and has all the workability of the finest grades of lumber.
Sold through lumberyards and by building contractors throughout the United States and Canada, the material is used for the construction of residential and commercial decks, playgrounds, boardwalks, landscaping and signage.
Trex was recently used for Toronto's Lake Ontario boardwalk and for the Presidential Trail at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.