UPDATE JUNE 17: DuPont officially unveils “Invent a Better N:OW" campaign, stressing the “power of essential innovation,” according to Barbara Pandos, chief communication officer. Ad agency is R/GA, New York.
JUNE 2: The “new” and reorganized DuPont Co., scheduled to separate from farm-sales giant Corteva on June 3, plans a $10 million-plus advertising, social-media, and marketing campaign to rebuild its image around a new slogan — “Inventing the Better Now: DuPont” — to be blasted across public communications media later this month.
The company hasn’t yet announced the campaign but has begun posting materials based on the campaign — “Welcome to n:ow” — and exhorting staff and customers to “Invent the better now”
The campaign, which will include “sponsored content” video ads prepared at the New York Times Co.'s T Brand Studios, is slated to roll out starting June 10. DuPont plans to tell workers about the campaign this week. The Inquirer learned key details from people familiar with the plan before it was announced, speaking on condition they not be named because they weren’t authorized to talk about it.
The ads are to roll out a week after DuPont goes back into business as a stand-alone company, after merging and swapping some businesses with Dow Chemical Co. over the past two years. The complex transaction was designed to cut central research and management costs, save on income taxes, and boost profit margins.
The two chemical conglomerates were pushed into a merger after hedge-fund investors demanded higher profits. A reconstituted Dow separated from the temporary DowDuPont on April 1.
NASA astronaut Cady Coleman will be among the spokespeople featured in the DuPont videos, which portray highlights of the company’s long list of products from its three business groups, focused on autos and smartphones, military and protection products, food and drug additives and biochemicals.
The company last week moved its Wilmington-based biosciences unit, which had been slated to constitute a fourth business group, into the food and drug additives unit, and based the combination in Denmark. The ongoing moves underscore the fluidity of DuPont’s businesses — and the challenges facing its marketers — under executive chairman Edward Breen, who previously broke up Tyco International.
Businesses totaling $2 billion of the company’s $20 billion in yearly sales are now for sale, and others could follow.
DuPont was a pioneer in the public-relations and corporate-communications field. After years of gunpowder explosions literally blew workers (and an occasional du Pont family member) across Brandywine Creek, the company’s rapid expansion into chemical industries in the early 1900s was followed by gruesome reports of lead poisoning in its gasoline-additives works and other lethal industrial problems.
In response, DuPont established a safety culture and has sold its safety expertise as a consultant to other manufacturers, and worked hard to burnish its image as a corporate citizen proud of its engineering advances.
Mid-1900s DuPont slogans included “Better Living Through Chemistry,” the subject of a mural in DuPont’s former headquarters, now home to DuPont chemical spin-off Chemours Corp., along with the Hotel du Pont, Wilmington’s largest commercial theater, and a new food court.
The company has continued to face a legacy of environmental damage lawsuits and allegations. Hollywood star Mark Ruffalo is producing a movie — also starring Anne Hathaway and Tim Robbins, which is expected to screen this fall — about lawyers for workers and residents around DuPont’s Teflon-producing plants in Ohio and West Virginia suing the company (and Chemours). They gain multimillion-dollar awards after persuading the courts that fatal cancers were linked to their exposure to dangerous chemicals.
DuPont products are ubiquitous in the U.S. and other industrial countries, where they are commonly used in construction and electronics as well as processed foods and medicines.
The company has sold or closed most of its Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey plants in the past 25 years, though it maintains an office center outside Wilmington, the nearby Experimental Station, and units of scaled-back plants in Deepwater, Salem County, and other locations.
Sources familiar with the company’s plans say that Barbara Pandos has been working with advertising, publicity, and crisis-management agencies, social media producers, and the New York Times’ T Brand Studios, among others, on the new slogan and multimedia brand-marketing campaign, and is preparing to spend in the low eight figures to get the word out, starting a week after the stock begins trading.