Hardware chain pitches ease as its truest value

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True Value Hardware promotes relaxation over repairs in a $50 million branding campaign that breaks this week.

The new effort, from Marc USA, Pittsburgh, uses beautifully shot vignettes of outdoor scenes to show consumers what they could be doing on weekends instead of home-maintenance projects. The advertising shows activities such as bike riding and fishing, while a voice-over tells chore-minded consumers: "The sooner you get done, the sooner you can get back to this thing called your life."


One ad says: "Imagine a place that understands you'd rather be doing anything on Saturday other than fixing your faucet. A place that knows you can't spend half the weekend shopping for your weekend project."

The advertising intermixes in-store shots of True Value employees and products. And in a gentle jab at football field-size home center giants such as Home Depot or Lowe's Cos., the voice-over adds, "We're set up to get you in and out fast."

The campaign also brings back a tagline that True Value pushed aside three years ago: "Help is just around the corner."


"The whole strategy talks to people who are in a time crunch and don't want to spend their entire weekend fixing things," said True Value VP-Advertising Frank Rothing, adding, "True Value is a much easier place to shop than the big box [warehouse] type of stores."

The network and cable TV effort comes six months after True Value parent TruServ Corp. said it would discontinue its ServiStar and Coast to Coast names, and consolidated its 7,000-plus retail units under the True Value banner. At that time, Marc USA was named agency of record for the consolidated True Value account.

"We're trying to dramatically differentiate True Value in the category," said Michele Fabrizi, president-chief operating officer of Marc's Pittsburgh office.

The agency worked with True Value on qualitative and quantitative research that included focus group interviews and polls of True Value customers and owners. The research also involved "intercepting people on their way out of the competition" for post-shopping interviews, said Ms. Fabrizi.

The campaign is targeted at 25- to 54-year-old men and women. Mr. Rothing said the gender demographic is split down the middle, with half of the shoppers being women. True Value has an advantage over the larger home centers in wooing females since "they often feel uncomfortable shopping in a big box," he added.


However, he did note that 85% of True Value's customers also shop in big-box stores, though many of those patrons visit the warehouse type of store for larger-scale renovation work, such as building a deck.

The ad campaign's goal is not only to get consumers to visit True Value more often than the warehouse-type stores, but also to promote True Value as a consumer's local hardware store of choice, he said.

True Value's similarly structured hardware store competition includes Ace Hardware Corp. and Do It Best Corp.

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