M/W ‘Survives’ With Rubbermaid

Tagline Is Changed as New Management Spurs a Fresh Campaign
CHICAGO–Rubbermaid emphasizes the durability of its products in a tongue-in-cheek campaign from Martin/Williams Advertising that marks a slight position shift for the company.
Following the sale of Rubbermaid to Newell Co. last March, new management “asked for a big unifying idea for the brand,” said Terri Shapiro, vice president and management supervisor at the Minneapolis agency.
The campaign scraps the 3-year-old “Ideas that last” tagline in favor of “Survives the unbelievable.” While Rubbermaid has used TV in the past, this year’s campaign is soley print and radio. The new tag is intended to maintain the durability positioning while also implying Rubbermaid has higher quality products than its competitors, Shapiro said.
“What this brand has historically stood for is durability,” she said. “We’ve tried to create a brand character that addresses [that aspect].”
The work takes a campy approach to testimonial advertising, illustrating letters written to the company from actual consumers, Shapiro said. One print ad tells the story of a woman whose Rubbermaid storage bin survived a fire and preserved her wedding dress.
Under the headline “Marriage intact, but dress went through H-e-double-toothpicks and back,” the ad shows the intact bins amid the rubble of a burned-out basement. Copy tells the woman’s story and ends with the line, “Hey, you think we’d make this stuff up?”
“We felt if we took a straightforward approach, the letters wouldn’t have any power,” Shapiro said.
The print work breaks in April issues of women’s magazines. A radio component, breaking on sports radio stations in early March, actively targets men as buyers of certain Rubbermaid products–a first for the Wooster, Ohio, company.
“Men are active purchasers of Rubbermaid storage, particularly outdoor storage,” Shapiro said.
Rubbermaid spent nearly $30 million on advertising in 1998, but only $9 million through the first nine months of 1999, according to Competitive Media Reporting. K