A Copy however colourful is still a copy


Saw this today on Adverblog.

This video visualises the effect of Dulux’s Let’s Colour project.

I started off wanting to like this, in fact I started writing a post about how much I loved it. Dulux are tangibly making a difference to people’s lives by erasing the drab and grey from the lives of poor, run-down communities and replacing it with vibrant colour. That’s got to be a good thing right?

But as the 2 minute video progresses, I find myself feeling more and more cynical about it. Here are my 3 key reasons

1) This feels like Dulux’s attempt to do a “Cogs” , “Balls” etc and make up for the fact that Sony made an ad for TVs that was all about Paint!

2) Even if it hadn’t been done before in the advertising world, it is just copying ventures that already exist in the real world:

a) I was reminded of a civic venture by the Mayor of Tirana (Capital of Albania) where they sent an army of painters out to brighten up the morose communist era concrete grey.

b) When looking that up, I also found the Favela Painting project which was initiated by Dutch artists Haas & Hahn in collaboration with the Brazilian Government (and AkzoNobel – a commerical paint company) to engage the inhabitants in transforming the squalour of their slum. When you see the sophistication and ambition of this project, the Dulux activity in Rio starts to look a little shabby.

Frankly, I’m sick of seeing creative agencies seeing a great idea on the internet and then passing it off as an original thought. I’ll add this to the box that has the Aero bubbles skateboarder and the Berocca treadmills in it.

3) Finally, this “transformation” has been undertaken with little care for the potenial underlying beauty that could be lost under a coat of emulsion. The final segment of the video shows the effect of the project on Jodhpur, India. Jodhpur is hardly a city that could be called drab. It might be poor, but there is such variety and colour already naturally there that it seems an awful shame to paint over it in vast swathes of purple and so to lose the wonderful details and turn it into a bit of a Disneyfied India.

It’s a shame, because I guess hearts were in the right place for a lot of people on this, but it feels a little too self serving and not original enough to convince me that Dulux actually care.

Saying all that, it will probably work because not everyone is as cynical as me. Most consumers don’t know about Albania or the Favelas and they will just see the transformative power of Colour. They probably will say “Isn’t that a bit like the Sony Rabbits/Balls/Paint ad” though

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