Can Marketing Push Make Velcro Stick?

Old-School Fastener Brand Tries to Persuade Consumers to Use Its Wearable Tech in New Ways

By Published on .

Were Swiss inventor George de Mestral still alive, he'd be relieved to discover his hook-and-loop fastener has stuck around far longer than those Velcro high-tops from the '80s.

He registered the Velcro trademark 55 years ago, and soon after Reader's Digest called it the most revolutionary breakthrough for clothing since the zipper. It was marketed by Reebok and Adidas as less fussy and more secure than shoelaces.

But the brand has always been plagued by a problem: It's seen as only as functional, like tape or super glue. Enter Boston agency Breakaway Innovation Group, which Velcro hired in 2011 to help show consumers creative uses for the product.

Last week the agency broke a national campaign comprising video, digital banners and social media that positions Velcro as a home-organization aid and an essential tool for creative DIY-ers.

One ad, "A Million Uses," shows how Velcro's new One-Wrap ties can be used by a gardener to hold orchids upright, a gadget geek to prevent wires from tangling up or kayakers to keep oars bundled. It closes with the tagline "There is only one."

"We wanted to showcase all the amazing ways in which the product can be included into the daily lives of our consumers," said Jurjen Jacobs, Velcro's VP-global marketing.

Velcro's social-media presence is surprisingly sprawling. On Pinterest the brand offers instructions on using Velcro in DIY lamps and wall hangings. There's even a guide to Velcro jewelry, featuring Brit Morin, a DIY maven -- known as the 'Martha Stewart of Silicon Valley' -- that the brand has struck a partnership with. "I love Velcro because it's easy to use, affordable and available at just about any store," said Ms. Morin. "People are looking to mix digital and analog and Velcro is putting itself in the center of that need. DIYers can go online for inspiration and go offline to create and make."

Sounds like the brand isn't losing its grip just yet.

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