Painting the town Celebration Red
As someone who tends to have at least one skirting board in the house permanently lined with masking tape, the Easter bank holiday offers an exciting four-day opportunity for DIY-related procrastination, of which writing this post is just one small part. It’s a good thing I don’t live in Main Street, Moneygall, Co Offaly, where Dulux is providing free paint to houses and businesses ahead of President Obama’s visit, but is not actually doing the painting. Dulux could drop off as many tins of Pacific Breeze or Intense Truffle as it liked – if it was my doorstep, poor Barack would still end up averting his eyes from the faded, peeling remnants of whichever vomitous shade I had thought was a good idea five years earlier.
That’s not to say that I think Dulux’s global Let’s Colour Project, launched across Ireland this week, is anything less than a genius idea. As a marketing campaign, it comes in a shade of pure brilliance.
Here’s a summary: A Dulux-commissioned Ipsos MRBI poll finds that 72 per cent of Irish people believe the mood of the nation to be low, or very low, while 80 per cent agree that Irish communities are badly in need of an uplift. Step forward Dulux with colour charts, free paint and the endorsements of Volunteer Ireland and psychologist/broadcaster David Coleman. A “Dulux paint reservoir” has been formed to cater for the rejuvenation needs of up to 200 community projects – schools, sports clubs, parish halls, etc – who apply via www.letscolour.ie. The successful applications will be “transformed by colour”, with “neglected” public spaces brought “back to life”. It’s community spirit, with a bottle of white spirit on standby.
Cue quotes from Coleman about post-Tiger social involvement, the soothing potential of pale blue and the energizing power of yellow. Here’s where the on-the-page gloss of the campaign may be dulled by the real-life negotiations of taste though, as yellow, of course, is not just yellow. It’s Sunflower Symphony, it’s Tuscan Treasure, it’s, er, Banana Dream. One man’s modish “gallery” grey is another man’s drab prison; one woman’s joyous orange is another’s tangerine outrage. Remember Sarah Beeny’s Channel 4 show Streets Ahead? It was paintpads at dawn.
Regardless of how genuinely transformative a few days of roller action are for the community projects who take up the offer, it seems pretty clear that the campaign will work out very nicely for Dulux itself. It’s an easy, eye-catching reminder of what its products do – other paints are available, apparently. As for my own desire for wall metamorphosis, there’s a tin of Pale Peacock in my hallway ready to be prised open. I’m still hoping to find an eHow.com saviour for my latest patchy ceiling quandary and resurrect the spare room in time for Easter.