The company's Olympic Stain, Lucite and Pittsburgh paint brands weren't advertised on TV and the image of the products was, well, flat.
That changed when Mike Provenzano, director of advertising and marketing services, set in motion a high-gloss integrated marketing campaign that transformed the brand trio into category leaders in the U.S. coatings market, which totals $14 billion.
The problem with Olympic and Lucite was that they were acquired in 1989 from Clorox, and PPG felt the former owner had let the brands languish.
"Olympic had lost its television identity, so we invested in TV advertising featuring a new brand image and new product introductions" aimed at do-it-yourselfers, says the 43-year-old Mr. Provenzano. The Olympic campaign, from Mintz & Hoke, Hartford, Conn., allowed Olympic to leapfrog then-leader Thompson's stain.
Now "Olympic is a leader in do-it-yourself exterior wood protection and it's the No. 1 exterior stain in America," he says.
He also sought to revive the fading color of the Lucite name. PPG started with new packaging, which simplified the consumer purchase decision by providing all information needed for a specific painting project using high-production photography. A vibrant new in-store identity was created.
Beginning in 1993, new advertising by Marc Advertising, Pittsburgh, hammered home the positioning, claiming "Lucite's right."
"We use the graphic symbol of the splash to visualize the new brand personality," he says, and it has "revitalized the brand."
Next: The top-of-the-line Pittsburgh brand. This spring, PPG added a superpremium line extension, Manor Hall, and it's now one of the top five brands in the $20-plus per gallon segment of the market.
As a result of the strategy, "We are ahead of our forecast and doing well in the market," says Mr. Provenzano.
That indicates a colorful future.