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Making Dulux Colour Of The Year 2019 a sales success


The Dulux Colour of the Year (COTY) is the biggest single brand activation for the market leader, providing a platform to assert both its authority in colour and to drive sales.

However the 2019 campaign presented two challenges. Keen for high return on investment but in its 16th year, Dulux needed a PR campaign that would overcome fatigue, igniting consumer excitement to maximise year-round sales.

Plus with Spiced Honey – its colour for 2019 – revealed in September, a massive four months before the product was actually on-shelf, Dulux needed a campaign that would successfully maintain awareness and consideration, bridging this gap. 


Success relied on ensuring the target audience – the reassurance seeker – audience was given maximum opportunities to see, hear and read about Dulux as the authority in both colour trends and decorating know-how.

To achieve this, identified the most effective platform: transforming influential media voices into loud-and-proud advocates. Compelling media relations would harness their reach, to endorse ‘why Dulux’ again and again. 


Generating a year-round media relations campaign structured to deliver impact around key seasonal DIY peaks, our advocates would influence and persuade reassurance seekers on our behalf.

To convert them into advocates we would engage with coveted, content-driving activity. From VIP launches for editorial decision makers, to how-to videos, we would give them compelling reasons to feature Spiced Honey and its palettes month on month

Using a combination of quantitative research and competitor analysis, identified the high reach media titles read by reassurance seekers. Desk side visits with their feature, news and digital staff identified a programme of written, visual and filmed content, crafted to  deadlines, that would ensure share of voice over market competitors.

To ensure their editors ‘signed off’ for month-on-month Dulux mentions in their titles, embarked on a hearts and minds project to secure buy-in. Overcoming ‘16th year’ fatigue hosted intimate breakfast hosted by in-demand Dulux Creative Director Marianne Shillingford and exclusively revealed the colour ahead of a worldwide embargo.

Finally a series of qualitative interviews with reassurance seekers revealed the appeal of Fearne Cotton. Analysing her media profile, identified stellar media opportunities for high impact mainstream print, TV and radio coverage and negotiated a high-return partnership.


12-month campaign around three pillars:

  1. Launch event (September 2018)

An exclusive event for 50 of the UK’s most influential decision makers responsible for high tier titles read by reassurance seekers. Drove emotional connection to Spiced Honey with immersive video storytelling, dramatic dawn-lit location, expert commentary – establishing Dulux authority, generating buzz and securing 12-month coverage opportunities.

Extended launch reach with 30 deskside visits, using Google Glass technology, to simulate sensory reveal.

  1. Three intimate influencer events (Jan – Aug)

Inspirational workshops to hero the seasonal palettes. Immersed attending journalists and bloggers in Dulux colour expertise, with every element in the room reflecting palette. Scheduled to deliver peaks of coverage around key consumer DIY dates.

  1. Celebrity ambassador (Feb – Apr)

Secured three month partnership with Fearne Cotton, leveraging her media/ consumer appeal and synergy with interior design and wellbeing. Generated raft of in-demand media assets including exclusive interviews, photography, videos and a data led news story. 


  • 532 inserts in 100% titles identified by reassurance seekers as titles they read
  • 71 double page spreads
  • 4 national front pages
  • 80.7M OTS – 10 times the number of people who watched the 2019 Strictly Come Dancing launch
  • Reach +137% on Denim Drift (2018 Colour of the Year)
  • 80% coverage stated Dulux was an expert in colour
  • 65% coverage revealed practical ways the colour could be used in the home, to empower reassurance seekers


  • PR activity directly impacted sales with peaks of purchase in line with Fearne launch (Feb) and the associated data story (March)
  • Sales outstripped any other Colour of the Year launches



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