Paint brand Valspar ushered into Kiwi market by chameleons Kevin and Donna

In 1903, while working for paint retailer Valentine & Company, a US chemist named L. Valentine Pulsifer developed what is thought to been the world’s first clear varnish and called it Valspar. Until this innovation, varnish rendered a white shade, essentially clouding over the grain of the wood it was being applied to. Promoted with the advertising tagline ‘the varnish that won’t turn white’, Valspar quickly became a household name in the United States and it eventually usurped Valentine & Company to become the name of the business.   

Over the years, the Valspar brand of paint products has expanded into countries throughout the world, and New Zealand was recently added to this list. And to announce its arrival in the local market, the paint company has commissioned FCB to produce a campaign capable of cutting through to consumers who already have many other choices in this category.

Creatives Peter Vegas and Leisa Wall responded to this challenge by looking into the creative work that had previously been done for the brand in other markets. 

Vegas says the use of the chameleons in the American market stood out, and the team felt the concept could be re-imagined for the local market.

“We approached Flux Animation, and they’ve really been amazing,” says Wall. “The animations are pretty much photo real, and we don’t even have chameleons here in New Zealand.”

Wall says the voice talent, Jackie Von Beak and Richard Simpson, behind the chameleons was involved in the process from the beginning, meaning that the characters were developed alongside their voices.   

Wall says it took the Flux team roughly 12 weeks to develop the chameleons, which will feature not only on the TV ads but also on bus wraps, print ads and online.

“From an art director perspective, it’s really great to have exactly the same chameleons on all the creative,” Wall says.

The use of the chameleons also ties in to the point of difference Valspar aims to establish in this market. In a continuation of its tradition of innovation, the retailer has moved beyond paint charts and test pots by developing technology that enables customers to purchase any colour they want. Whether this colour appears on a T-shirt, a photograph or in a book, the Valspar technology is capable of developing a paint match.

Wall says the colour-shifting theme will also be evident on the Herald homepage, which will feature the chameleons transitioning through five colours; on bus wraps, featuring a different colour on each side of the vehicle; and on the Valspar homepage

“Our media guys are awesome,” says Vegas. “The moment they saw the chameleons, they came up with all these creative ideas in terms of how we could use them in the ads.”

One of the more interesting executions set to be revealed after the campaign launches on Sunday night will see the chameleons walk across the screen during an episode of Renovation Rumble. Thereafter, this will lead into the the full ad campaign during the break. 

“TVNZ has been a great collaborative partner on this and worked with us to come up with the innovative solution for Renovation Rumble,” says Vegas.

And because Valspar was looking to disrupt an already cluttered market, Wall says the client jumped at the opportunity of this unconventional media placement. 

Valspar’s move into the local market is also being supported by Mitre 10, which has signed on as an exclusive launch partner. And given Mitre 10 is also an FCB client, the collaborative comms process will be made somewhat easier given the respective creative teams are in the same building.  

Vegas says the team has already been throwing a few idea in terms of how they might go about promoting across both brands.

“We thought about changing the Mitre 10 sausage sizzle for a chameleon sizzle, but it turns out they don’t taste too good,” Vegas jokes.


Client: Valspar ANZ

Client Contacts: Kathy Casha – Group Marketing Manager
Lynley Twyman – Marketing Manager
Alison Smith – Senior Brand Manager
Shelley Easton – Brand Manager
Product: Launch
Title/Length: 1 X 30 TVC “Change”
Air Date: 4 October 2015

Agency Details – Fcb New Zealand

Regional Exec Creative Director: James Mok
Creatives: Leisa Wall and Peter Vegas
Head Of Content: Pip Mayne
Group Account Director: Toby Sellers
Senior Account Director: Juliette Harris
Account Managers: Emily Jagger | Laura Little
Creative Services Director: Jenni Doubleday
Head Of Planning: David Thomason
Media: Simon Teagle, Head Of Media – Client Services
Rufus Chuter – Head Of Media – Strategy
Ellen Yan, Media Manager
Andrew Coulthard, Media Planner Buyer
Kate Grigg, Digital Media Director
Joanna James, Pr Senior Account Director
Alisha Thomas, Pr Senior Account Manager
Christina So, Digital Media Manager
Michelle Tan, Media Assistant
Claire Savage, Media Assistant

Production Details

Production Company: Flux
Ecd Animation: Brent Chambers
Director: Laban Dickinson
Animation: Laban Dickinson | Henry Bennett
Modelling | Texturing | Rigging: Adrian Rogers | Adam Cao | Henry Bennett
Lighting | Rendering: Jeremy Ball
Design: Mike Howie
Producer: Je’maine Booth | Sue Chambers
Audio Post
Sound Studio: Digicake
Engineer | Sound Track Composer:
Andrew Mcdowall

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