Owens Corning is a leading manufacturer of building materials for the residential,
commercial and industrial construction industries, and, in the 1970's, was
the industry leader in fiber glass insulation materials.
Owens Corning had long led the way with "value added" services:
research, innovative applications and advertising to promote the value of
insulation. However, the segment was becoming mature, and other manufacturers
were gaining share with lower prices. Owens Corning had not been able to significantly
differentiate their product from the rest of the market, but needed to justify their higher price due to development costs.
While all products were generally comparable in performance, Owens Corning
did have one distinctive characteristic: pink-colored insulation. Other products
were white or yellow. Taking advantage of this one small difference, we proposed
using the Pink Panther, well known from the movie series (and even farther back from the comic books), as the branding
element for the company's consumer insulation products.
This branding "spokescat" immediately reinforced the importance
of the color pink and brought instant credibility to the product. It also
introduced an element of fun into advertising and promotions which proved
remarkably successful at both retail and distributor levels.
The company loved the idea. However, because the only budget large enough to accommodate the high initial investment was in advertising, the advertising agency in New York, Ogilvy
& Mather, was selected to drive the introduction. Our involvement with
the actual implementation of the Panther in promotion was minimal until it was adapted to collateral materials.
The branding program was wildly successful. Owens Corning easily outdistanced
insulation manufacturers, and remains the only recognizable brand in the
market segment. Ironically, the Pink Panther is now more identified with Owens
Corning than with the movie series which brought its original fame.
Additionally, we later migrated the Panther to the Industrial Fibers Division,
which sold bulk fiber for reinforcements. Despite the fact that these fibers
were white, the brand association was so strong that this division had similar
success, becoming the largest Owens Corning division in both sales and profits.
This program is still regarded by marketing professionals as one of the premier iconic branding programs in advertising history.