Ace Hardware Debuts First Work from O'Keefe Reinhard & Paul

Chain Features Its Own Owners, Employees and Customers in New Spots

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Ace uses its own employees and customers in ads.
Ace uses its own employees and customers in ads. Credit: Ace Hardware Corp.

It's almost spring, and Ace wants you to know it has you covered, for color samples, lawn mowers and even helpful advice like, "don't eat paint." The Oak Brook, Ill.-based hardware chain unveiled a new campaign this week, its first work from agency O'Keefe Reinhard & Paul, which won the Ace Hardware account last year.

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The new campaign features its friendly, stick-in-your-head jingle "Ace is the place with the helpful hardware folks," and includes real Ace store owners and customers in a series of chuckle-worthy 30-and 15-second spots. In one, a teenage son expresses as little enthusiasm as possible over taking over the grass mowing duties from his dad.

"We set out to accomplish something that no other retailer or brand can do, showcasing our three greatest differentiators—our people, our brand and our jingle—in a truly authentic way," said John Surane, exec VP of merchandising, marketing and sales at Ace, in a statement. "It's unmistakably Ace."

The 4,800-unit chain, which is a cooperative, will feature a cast of 25 store owners and associates and 40 customers in its 25 spots, which will air nationally on networks including CBS and ESPN. OKRP researched the campaign by surveying more than 100 retailers about the issues and questions they hear from customers on a regular basis. Before it chose OKRP last May, Ace had worked with Omnicom's GSD&M since 2009. Chicago-based OKRP also works with retailer Big Lots. Spark SMG handles media duties for Ace.

Last year, Ace spent $60.4 million on measured media, a slight decline from 2014's $63 million, according to Kantar Media.

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