Sherwin-Williams

Odd as it may seem, commercials often go awry because the client doesn’t understand what it’s selling. This spot for Sherwin-Williams (via McKinnney of Durham, N.C.) has the considerable virtue of grasping what do-it-yourselfers want from the company — not just paint, which they could get from any number of sources, but expert advice that will make their projects a success. With its own retail network of 3,300-plus stores, Sherwin-Williams is uniquely positioned to answer the questions such people inevitably have about the paint jobs they’re contemplating. Inviting viewers to ask away, this and other new spots (along with print and online components) wisely make the most of that competitive advantage. The visuals here are pretty pedestrian; the efforts at humor (as when the Oval Office is shown as one room you might repaint) are so-so. But if you’re planning to repaint your kid’s bedroom, say, you’ll come away knowing that staffers at Sherwin-Williams stores can help you get a satisfying result from your efforts. Indeed, since this is the crux of the brand’s ad campaign, you’ll know that those people expect to get lots of questions and view it as a central part of their job to provide helpful answers. That in itself will give the brand appeal for the 99 percent of us who’ve gone into a store (for paint or whatever) and found the sales people clearly regarding it as an imposition if we asked them for information. –Mark Dolliver