CEO, Velcro Companies Fraser Cameron
“We are taking an unconventional approach to draw attention to an important issue and to encourage people to understand our heritage and future.”
Velcro Companies is the original patent holder of hook and loop fastener technology, first filed in 1951. More than 60 years later, through smart, consistent innovation, the popular VELCRO® Brand name has become associated in the minds of some with hook and loop fastener such that it has crept into everyday vernacular. While most people would assume this generalization of a company’s trademarked name is the ultimate sign of success, the practice actually diminishes the integrity and heritage of a brand, and unknowingly exposes consumers to sub-quality, non-VELCRO® brand products.
As a result, Velcro Companies sought to launch a public education initiative to protect the VELCRO® brand and its trademark rights, reminding people to refer to the mechanical fastener as “hook and loop.” Walk West’s competitive, multi-pronged messaging approach proved to be the most robust proposal to address every one of Velcro Companies’ pain points around its trademark misuse.
And before too long, the #DONTSAYVELCRO campaign took flight.
How do you reprogram the general public to stop saying something they don’t know they’re saying wrong? This was the biggest obstacle facing Velcro Companies.
Velcro Companies wanted to effectively reach a national audience with a legalese message that was engaging enough to compel people into taking repeated, long-term action. Our creative marketing minds at Walk West didn’t shy away from this seemingly-impossible task — we recommended leaning into the challenge and owning how ridiculous it may sound to the general public.
Director and creative consultant on the project, Penn Holderness, knew that Velcro Companies’ messaging directives would be best conveyed through the asymmetry of a musical, humorous video, in which the absurdity of lawyers pleading for the public’s assistance to “save our trademark” would be engaging, memorable, — and funny enough — to create shareability. With a calculated digital distribution strategy, paid media support, and partnership with Velcro Companies’ PR team, our team created a web of owned, paid, earned, and shared media to ensure buzz and longevity.
The campaign centered around the music video of an original song performed in a 1980s “We ® The World”-style benefit. The video, which also featured a couple of actual members of Velcro Companies’ legal team, reminds people to refer to the mechanical fastener as “hook and loop.”
The ongoing marketing campaign includes a dedicated website, real-time video responses on social media, automated tweets correcting misuse, and paid media support.
- Video Production
- Original song music video featuring Velcro Companies’ legal team utilizing S.M.A.S.H.
- Behind-the-scenes ‘making of’ music video with interviews and additional commentary
- Snackable video cuts for social and paid media
- Dedicated Website Landing Page Development
- Campaign website with main video, social sharing links, education on the issue, behind-the-scenes video, fine print FAQs, trademark misuse quiz, and a “Join the Movement” mailing list CTA
- Digital Marketing
- “Twitter Takeover” on VELCRO® Brand (@velcrobrand) channel, responding to misuse of the trademark with 21 real-time musical quips, featuring actors from the music video
- Social Media War Room, staffed to monitor all VELCRO® Brand conversations and incorrect references to hook and loop fastening systems
- Quick turn-around copywriting, musical composition, shooting, editing, and posting of real-time music video responses
- Dedicated campaign Twitter handle, @dontsayvelcro, seemingly run by the Velcro Companies’ legal team, using automated responses to correct trademark misuse
- Paid Media Support
- Video placement on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram
- Google paid search campaign correcting users who search for ‘velcro’ online
When VELCRO® Companies launched this major public education initiative, the video quickly gained millions of organic views from around the world. Major news outlets as well as business and trade publications picked up the story, with 53 (and counting) original media placements and support from PR firms, Fleishman Hillard and Bryant Park. Countless law professionals have commented on social media that this campaign has raised the stakes for brand trademark protection.
“Protecting a trademark is a critical issue not often part of today’s business narrative,” said Susan Montgomery, Executive Professor of Law and Business, Northeastern University. “Individuals and companies that inaccurately use a trademark are undercutting the decades a company has devoted to securing that circled R. Incorrect trademark use also puts consumers at risk for buying substandard, wrongly labeled products.”
Creative Consultant & Director Penn Holderness
“This is something we talked about with Velcro Companies from the first meeting. They all had this perfect idea of what the finished video would look like in their heads. As great as the concept was, we knew it would be a challenge to create the perfect end product they were envisioning. But with a LOT of communication and keeping them involved in every step of the creative process, we got it pretty close to exactly what they wanted.”
- 7.8 Million Video Views & counting
- Over 1 Billion Digital Impressions & counting
- Nearly 2.5 Million Engagements
- 900+ million Media Impressions
- #13 trending on YouTube
- On average, consumers have watched over 60% of the YouTube video.
- Joy has led with 24% in sentiment analysis over other emotions.
- Originally launched as a national campaign, the universal message quickly gained worldwide momentum, stretching beyond the US and sparking high engagement in China, Canada, Australia, and the UK.
World Trademark Review Tim Lince
“In terms of raising awareness, this has arguably been one of the most successful campaigns of its kind.”
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