Stigmatized “ugliest city in the world” by a Dutch internetpoll 3 years ago, today’s Charleroi is very probably the number one source of stories demonstrating the power of colour in the Low Lands. As a story marketing endeavour for Akzo Nobel’s paint brand Levis, SANCTA sows six great ‘colour storylines’ across the city, gets them scheduled on consecutive Sunday nights on national TV and makes sure they spread onto earned and social media.
The popular CEO of the local airport mobilized his fellow citizens to colorfully express
the hospitality of his hometown underneath the local ringway.
Colour turned a long neglected square in a poor neighbourhood
into a local ‘Notting Hill’.
Downtown a cultural activist and his network – armed with ‘buckets’ of sponsored paint – set out to prove that culture is what will move their city forward.
A gynecologist tells the stories of 99 fellow citizens
in 99 shades of red on his hospital’s façade.
In the ancient steel factory ‘Forges de la Providence’, colour adds power to the stories of a crew of local 30-somethings expressing themselves.
And finally there’s the exceptional confrontation of a retired historian and a crew of young and angry Carolo’s, splashing their colours onto an old watertower.
The mobilizing power of these narratives inspires locals to spontaneously pour their sincere cheers onto the project’s fanpage – facebook.com/CouleursCarolo – where conversation (management) and word of mouth initiate numerous additional colour stories every day. Carolo’s are clearly taking pride in their newly discovered possibility to change the way the rest of the world perceives their city. The real ‘pulling’ strength of the program, however, is derived from the fact that the stories are sourced from a ‘good’ as essential as colour. Starting from this essential significance of colour in people’s lives is, by the way, also what enabled the unusual multipartner set-up of Couleurs Carolo: the paint brand ended up partnering with both a city council and a public broadcaster.
As the initially very cautiously branded project is now gradually taken to the brand’s owned media, the Akzo Nobel brand becomes ever more likely to be remembered as the one that’s – living upto its baseline – adding colour to people’s lives.
Couleurs Carolo as it unfolds? www.facebook.com/couleurscarolo