The Company We Keep

At pencil we've helped brands, big and small, find relavant and powerful insights. And we can help you find them, too. 
AAA • Anderson Erickson Dairy • AT&T • Bridgestone • Canadian Bank Note • CenturyLink • Dallas News • Earnest • EAS Sports Nutrition • Gillette •
Gold's Gym • HiltonHonors • The Home Depot • HoneyBaked Ham •
Mastercard • Mayo Clinic • Meijer • Motel 6 • Patrón Spirits •
Pepsi Bottling Ventures/Suntory • Qwest • Ronald McDonald House • 
Sanderson Farms • Sherwin-Williams • STAINMASTER • Taco Bell •
Travelocity • U.S. Army • Verizon Wireless • Virgin Atlantic

Qwest High-Speed Internet

Challenge

Cable companies had successfully persuaded the public that speed was the only thing that mattered in an Internet connection. Consequently, telco customers were abandoning their DSL connections and flocking to cable. In order to survive, Qwest had to stem the loss of subscribers. But how could a brand that can't compete on speed win over new customers?

 

Insight

When people think about the phone company, one word comes to mind - reliable. Stormy Weather? Power outage? Doesn’t matter because there’s always a dial tone. And while people did credit the cable company with being fast, they also ranted that the connection was anything but consistent.

 

All they really wanted was a more stable Internet connection.

 

Solution

An integrated marketing campaign designed to change the conversation from speed to power. The campaign repositioned cable as being “average” Internet and suggested that if subscribers wanted something better, something stronger, they had to look to the Heavy Duty Internet. 

 

Results

By promising a better brand of Internet, Qwest saw a 164% increase in favorability scores for HD Internet and a +45% increase in purchase intent scores among those who had seen the advertising. And, after the launch of the campaign, the business saw a 49-percentage-point swing in net adds taking subscriptions into positive territory for the first time in a long time. 

 

Sherwin-Williams Paints

Challenge

With almost 4,000 stores nationwide, Sherwin-Williams had become an indispensable resource for painting contractors. But consumers considered it to be little more than a pricey and inconvenient alternative to big box stores. How could Sherwin-Williams convince consumers to walk past the paint department in a big box store and pay a premium for paint?

 

Insight

For homeowners, the most daunting factor in any painting project is choosing the color. Choose wisely and you get a beautiful room to enjoy for months and years to come. Choose foolishly and you get to live with the disaster or start over.

 

All they really wanted was more color confidence.

 

Solution

A campaign that repositioned Sherwin-Williams as the color expert - the one paint company that has a mastery of “color” as well as helpful resources that make it easier to find the color that's right for you. The campaign used TV commercials to show familiar color “journeys” that all successfully conclude in a local Sherwin-Williams store. 

 

 

Results

Thanks to a keen consumer insight and a stellar creative execution, Sherwin-Williams saw DIY sales increase by 9.6% and total sales increase by and 8.2%. 

 

Qwest Enterprise Solutions

Challenge

Qwest's enterprise offering was every bit as good as those of Verizon and AT&T, but their marketing budget was a fraction of what the two giants were able to spend. Because of this, Qwest decided to use the Web to tell their story. But how could the brand garner the attention of technology decision-makers when they barely had two pennies to rub together? 

 

Insight

Technology decision-makers in enterprise class companies grew up geeks and were not ashamed of it. They craved the challenge of solving complex and challenging problems, yet most of the product marketing they saw was bland corporate messaging aimed at the C-suite and the bean counters. 

 

All they really wanted was a company that would speak to them and do it in a way only they would understand. 

 

Solution

A 50-level, Web-based game called Ultimate Problem Solver that challenged participants to use their wit and wisdom to solve puzzles. Participants could seek help from friends and colleagues as well as a game moderator on Twitter. Most importantly, the game delivered product marketing messages and calls-to-action throughout the entire experience.

 

Results

The first Ultimate Problem Solver was crowned within hours of the game’s launch and the number of registered users skyrocketed from there. Average time on ultimateproblemsolver.com approached an extraordinary 23 minutes. And the average user viewed an astounding 10 pages. But, most impressively, the game became a trending topic on Twitter. All in all, the effort was a resounding success as a powerful consumer insight and a killer creative idea drew eyeballs to the site and the brand. 

 

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