Heritage branding and authenticity, is it the real deal?

Heritage branding is all the rage at moment, the marketing buzzwords are heritage, craft, hand made, authenticity but how many of the products behind these words are the real deal?

Today I saw an absolute cracker. It seems Dulux are getting envious of Farrow and Ball‘s increasing share of the luxury paint market (Dulux after all was first coined in the 1930’s from Dupont and Luxury) The solution? they have launched the Heritage Range with the marketing tagline “Dulux Heritage – Hand Picked by Experts” on the product card we are told the Heritage brand is a symbol of their “craft and dedication”. On the website we are told their paint is “trusted by craftsmen”

On the Dulux website they have an article that kindly explain the thinking behind their Heritage branding.

“At the design fair in Milan for example, many companies were showing their timelines alongside their future products. Why? Because their heritage lends them an authenticity and credibility that cannot be faked,”

Bear in mind that this paint is made by the industrial giant AkzoNobel, formerly ICI they may try hard to market on the heritage, craft, authenticity ticket but we all know it is made in places like this huge chemical plant. img_001 img_002

Not surprisingly those are not the images used in the marketing instead we get this……


The good news is that the range includes “The 112 beautiful shades have been expertly curated by Dulux colourists. To help find the perfect shade, each colour area is arranged into pale, mid, and deep tones, plus a specially selected white that will coordinate effortlessly with the other tones in the same column.”  I never knew that I needed a specially selected white.

I love to collect examples of this sort of marketing the good the bad and the ugly so please keep an eye out for them for me and share your favourites either in the comments below or by whizzing me an email.

5 Responses to Heritage branding and authenticity, is it the real deal?

  1. Zach LaPerriere November 21, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

    Thanks for pointing this out, Robin. I keep an eye out for this sort of thing, too. In a strange way, this appropriation of words from craftsmen and artists is a backhanded compliment. Industry and marketing see that public interest is in the heritage and craft direction. It’s a sign that the broad public is beginning to see the value in handmade craft again.

    But that doesn’t make it fun to see giant multi-national corporations appropriating words that distinguish us as being distinctly different from the big manufacturing corporations!

    This reminds me of the market for “healthy vegetables” here in the US. First, there was kale…which was mostly a restaurant garnish when I was a kid. Now it’s a high buck vegetable, full of hype (and vitamins.) Even in our small town here in Alaska there are several varieties of kale chips…like potato chips, but made from kale. This healthy vegetable thing has gone crazy in the States…maybe you’ve seen the headlines for $66 dollar frozen collard greens that sold out in no time flat?


    Thanks for your blog. A wealth of good thinking here.

  2. Am November 21, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

    The pigment the white paint is made from can affect things like tint and opacity. Titanium white, for example, can be almost a blue-white and is on the opaque side. Zinc white is a lot more translucent and better at creating mixes than covering areas. Of course, I’m talking about artists’ paint pigments rather than wall paint, and Dulux are probably still talking a load of bollocks.

  3. Larry November 21, 2016 at 10:07 pm #

    “Just paint it white” from a customer was a phrase that got me into trouble several times. When I went to one paint company the salesman handed me a sample book of 220 different whites.

  4. Tessa johnstone November 22, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

    Great rant – Artisan is the other word used to help with provenance and heritage ….. Everyone is now a artisan

  5. Zach LaPerriere November 25, 2016 at 9:55 am #

    Here’s an article from the States on the overuse and selling of possibly dubious heritage turkeys!