In its first major national TV as blitz, Ohio-based Gorilla Glue is airing spots on HGTV, DIY, The History Channel, Animal Planet, Fox News and more. On the market for more than a decade, Gorilla Glue has won a devoted following from the do-it-yourself crowd.
Matt Kemme, the Cincinnati company’s VP/marketing and innovation, said it was time for the company’s mascot to hit the airwaves. “We needed to show how the products work — not just that they are ‘tough,’ ” he told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “We needed that extra layer.”
It was tricky bringing the company’s character to life, noted the story. The gorilla represents the adhesive’s strength but makes the brand approachable to customers. Do-it-yourselfers want a brand that’s stronger than the Elmer’s they associate with their kid’s school projects, but not as intimidating as Liquid Nails used by carpenters.
“It’s just not as scary with a gorilla on the package,” Kemme said. “The gorilla is somebody we wanted to bring to life to make him even more approachable.”
Possible was tapped for creative: “There’s a lot of questions you’ve got to answer when the character becomes real and has to interact with real people: ‘How do people react to him?’ and ‘How does he react to them?’,” said Lucas Peon, Possible CEO. “The trick is: he’s tough, but friendly. He doesn’t have patience for short cuts. He wants to do a job right. He’s a good gorilla and wants to help people.”
For the two TV spots, the company hired a Hollywood animatronics shop to build a lifelike gorilla. An actor wears the gorilla suit, while two technicians control the character’s facial expressions via hand-held remotes. The gorilla doesn’t talk, but communicates through gestures and grunts that were edited in. In the TV spots, struggling do-it-yourselfers attempt fixes with generic products when the gorilla shows up offering Gorilla Glue solutions.
In one ad, a man is trying to reattach a wooden gate door to a brick fence. The company’s polymer glue is used for the repair. A voice-over and animation quickly explain the glue is designed to expand into porous and uneven surfaces like the brick and wood enabling a firm stick.
In the other ad, another man is trying to duct tape a tarp over a broken window with no success. Using Gorilla tape — which is thicker and weather-proof — the tarp is taped to a brick wall.
Kemme said it took a few attempts for Gorilla Glue to get the right tone they wanted.
In one commercial that won’t air on TV, the gorilla swats the generic glue out of a do-it-yourselfer’s hand then glues a mailbox he was trying to fix.