Benjamin Moore Has a Brand New Paint, and an Eye-Popping Campaign to Go With It

The Martin Agency introduces Century

Attention, color lovers. To promote Benjamin Moore’s new Century line of paint, the creative team at The Martin Agency wanted to show the product at work, so it created a life-sized stop-motion video of a plain white room turning into an eye-popping peppermint-stripe graphic design.

The minute-long clip opens with a close-up of a striking red hue, before zooming out to reveal it’s just a thin stripe on a white wall—magically growing as the camera tracks right. The landscape deepens, as the red line runs into alcoves, over a white picture frame, and back into the foreground.

It zig zags down a set of stairs before splitting off into two, then three, then more, zipping behind water pitchers (a clever twist on the perspective) and over a record player, eventually convening on on a single wall in its climatic, most complex form—a silhouette of a red-and-white striped paint roller, on a red-and-white striped wall.

It’s an impressive production. A behind-the-scenes video offers further insight into why. Paint changes color as it dries, so the crew had to move quickly enough to ensure the visuals remained cohesive, despite the meticulous nature of painting the lines. As director Fons Schiedon of GenPop, sounding amusingly beleaguered, explains, “Doing a stop-motion ad in full scale is one of those kind of like borderline bad ideas where it’s almost a good idea except that you run into a lot of problems. It just takes too many people way too long.”

That may be griping for dramatic effect, genuine frustration, or some mix thereof. But it certainly adds dimension to the story (which is itself supposed to be about the dimension of the new paint—a matte that Benjamin Moore is marketing as soft to the touch—offering, somewhat incredulously, “a tactile experience similar to that of a soft leather glove”).

Indeed, the final ad looks easier to create than it apparently was, so it’s wise of the creators to emphasize that they executed the entire thing by hand, even if they mapped it out using computer graphics beforehand, to improve the odds of success on set.

Whether the result, intense and engaging as it is, lives up to the chore is a different question. The pacing of the camera at the top of clip is a little rough on the stomach. The absence of a visible human element, combined with with the heavy-handed musical build, risks making the progression feel cold, sterile, or even uncannily sinister, as the red paint lines creep to take over the world.

The final image itself, meanwhile, falls somewhere between delightful optical illusion and sensory overload—don’t stare at it too long if you don’t want to go chasing after your eyeballs as they roll across the floor.

That image, and two others like it—a paint brush in a green striped design, and a paint can in a blue striped one—are serving as print components to the campaign (see below), and will run in high-end interior design publications. Benjamin Moore may be playing well to its audience, in that sense. The images will certainly stop browsers in their tracks, and the colors themselves are plenty appealing.

The Martin Agency also designed the packaging for the paint, choosing a simple craft-themed approach meant to tie in with the fact that Century’s 75 hues can be mixed only in small batches, by hand—much of the aluminum can is exposed, and there’s a dab of paint on top—all sensible and seemingly appropriate to the authenticity zeitgeist.

In fact, the only truly inexplicable piece of the puzzle is why they didn’t hire Where’s Waldo as a spokesman.

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.