Henkel tries nontraditional tactics to connect Sumo Glue to audiences

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Challenge: The polyurethane glue marketplace is comprised of many well-established products. When Henkel Consumer Adhesives (HCA) launched Loctite Sumo Glue, a new heavy-duty adhesive, it needed to find a way to introduce a new brand and capture the market’s attention—all on a small budget.

“We needed to create an efficient and impacting communications strategy to break through the clutter and show our product has the advantage,” said Valerie Stump, advertising manager AT HCA.

Solution: Flashing marquees and sumo wrestlers are only some of the tactics HCA used to market Sumo Glue. HCA collaborated with its advertising, interactive and public relations partners, DDB Chicago, DigiKnow Inc. and Liggett-Stashower Inc. to create an integrated, nontraditional marketing approach.

“We quickly saw the value of using a collaborative approach to create a product that could stand out and get people to seek and try the product,” Stump said.

On a limited budget, they steered clear of print ads and broadcast spots and instead utilized Internet-based activities, such as interactive video campaigns complete with usage instructions and project ideas. (To view the site, go to

“We needed to introduce something new on a small scale but allow for its potential to go national and blow up,” said Greg Larson, account supervisor at DDB Chicago.

In order to establish brand awareness, they introduced Sumo Glue at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas where woodworker John DeGirolamo demonstrated the product. Attendees also were offered a photo opportunity to sit beside a 400 lb. professional sumo wrestler on a wooden bench fully constructed with Sumo Glue.

“We made a conscious effort to grow the brand more organically and bring the fun, iconic character to life,” Larson said.

Results: The product was introduced at about 1,250 Lowe’s hardware stores nationwide. Stump said there has also been interest from other retailers to introduce Loctite Sumo Glue this fall. Since the product’s launch, company sales in the polyurethane category have increased by 50%.

Additional key indicators of created brand awareness are Web site traffic and rebate redemption statistics. From June to July, the Web site’s hits have increased by 18.8%, from 71,630 to 85,064, and a total of 360 rebates have been downloaded. Redemption information is currently unavailable.

“Signing up for an online rebate is a good indicator, and the numbers are trending upwards,” Stump said.

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