Celebrating all the ways plumbers get the job done
In 2022, Sterling launched the brand’s first ever mass market campaign, after five years of minimal advertising presence. The Kohler company turned to PMG to design a fully integrated full-funnel strategy to build awareness and reach among Sterling’s core professional audience, connect with them with meaningful and culturally relevant messaging, and propel the brand’s growth.
Knowing how hard it is to break through when advertising home products to professionals, we decided to lean into the legacy home and bath brand’s reputation for being easy to install, built to last and backed by Kohler. The campaign would be about more than sinks and showers. By combining data-driven strategy and insights, creative, and media together, we would make Sterling the reliable brand of choice for professional plumbers and DIYers by celebrating all the ways plumbers get the job done.
Our strategy and insights team translated the professional target into an addressable media audience by identifying key media consumption behaviors, and the right places and right times to drive engagement. Our creative team then undertook an intensive production plan that involved finding the best director and shoot locations, casting and wardrobe choices, developing set renders, content capture photoshoots, and end to end video production.
The result was seven creative videos spliced into 63 versions of 30-, 15- and 6-second ads, which our media team executed across addressable TV and CTV targeting popular programming on networks like AMC, ESPN, HGTV and more, along with video buys via YouTube and The Trade Desk, as well as social ads targeting professional trade communities across Meta, Reddit, Nextdoor and more. We also created a real-time dashboard on PMG's Alli intelligence platform that allowed us to evaluate performance and leverage insights that informed our optimizations and allocations.
At the center of the campaign were spots honoring the people behind the modern plumbing trade and their growing diversity. One featured Ricky, who called himself a fixer, finder, contortionist, hero, and underpar rockstar, and more. There was also Erin, who has seen it, and done it, all — from tree homes to haunted homes. And there was Quinn, demonstrating the pride today’s plumbers take in their work ethic, and what it looks like when a master plumber works with Sterling.
The campaign immediately resonated strongly with plumbing professionals, who lauded Sterling for coming out of the shadows in ways it hadn’t ever done before, and also for doing it empathically, as seeing the plumbers twisting their bodies around a toilet and under the sink made it clear that Sterling innately understands their commitment and the value they bring to their jobs.
Within weeks of launch, our Alli-powered optimizations resulted in 34% higher cost effectiveness than benchmark, and video completion rates as high as 84% on skippable placements reinforced the strength of our targeting.