Valspar paint giveaway: a 'sell out'

There’s nothing like “free paint” to catch consumers’ attention, as Valspar learned during its recent “Power in Color” campaign. According to an article in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, the manufacturer handed out 100,000 free paint-sample kits during the first 100 days of 2011, or 1,000 kits per day.

"There wasn't a single day during the promotion that we didn't sell out," said Howard Heckes, senior VP global consumer for the Minneapolis-based company. "Some days, it was amazing -- we'd sell out in literally minutes from the time the website would open up."

The offer allowed consumers to order one free paint sample per household from Valspar's website. The kits included a 7.2-fluid-ounce sample of Valspar paint chosen from about 3,000 options, a small plastic paint roller and a coupon for $5 off a gallon of its paint at Lowe's.

The company also promoted the program on its Facebook page, where it was picked up by bloggers. Valspar added 40,000 Facebook fans during the promotion.

Although Valspar declined to reveal the cost of the campaign, one estimate put the giveaway at between $1 million and $2 million, based on the retail value of what the company is now charging for samples on its website.