Have Reality TV shows heralded the downfall of modern civilization? Or rather, do they provide a creative platform for marketers to leverage?

The popularity of competition themed reality shows has spawned a growing wave of niche, special-interest series like “The Deadliest Catch” and “Forged in Fire” — which have earned loyal followings. Viewers can’t seem to get enough of the format. These — supposedly unscripted — programs have taken over the airwaves. Or more accurately, the streaming waves.

Yes, it’s safe to say that Reality TV shows have taken on a life of their own. After all, they are favored by networks and production companies alike for their low budgets. And consistently high ratings.

So, it’s only natural that brands — including those in the home and building products channel — would try to capture a bit of the same success in their marketing.

One of those brands is Sakrete. Who created a limited-run series called “Concrete Combat,” which was made available via the brand’s website and on YouTube.

We celebrate the concept. And applaud Sakrete’s creativity.

Putting Pro Customers on a Pedestal

Season one of “Concrete Combat” lasted seven episodes… launching in mid-2021 and culminating with a live finale at the World of Concrete show in Las Vegas earlier this year. It had all the trappings of a big-time reality show. A motley crew of contestants. Professional judges and, of course, an attractive host.

The show was produced in the style of other programs that involve skilled contestants plying their crafts. The production value was top-notch. And the various challenges the contestants were invited to participate in… showcased their skills, as well as the ease of working with the sponsor’s construction solutions.

Most importantly, it provided a means for Sakrete to celebrate the pros who use their products.

Video from Concrete Combat
Video from Concrete Combat

Sakrete is one of those brands that — although its products are sold at retail — caters primarily to professionals. Since consumers infrequently use concrete, they typically have very little brand awareness or affinity. But, when that particular homeowner finds the need for a bag or two… they’d prefer to use the one that makes the pros look good, right?

Professionals, on the other hand, must remain constantly aware of brands and jobsite performance. They have a vested interest in staying up to date on the latest product innovations.

That said, when it comes to a commodity product, price is always going to be a key consideration… on at least an equal footing with brand loyalty.

So, how can a building product brand set itself apart in this situation?

Well, that’s why we believe “Concrete Combat” is such a compelling campaign. Sakrete put the people who use the brand’s product every day — along with the work they do — on a “hero” pedestal. Demonstrating that the company recognizes, and appreciates, the value its customers bring to the marketplace.

What a smart way to keep a brand top-of-mind among its faithful users.

While giving those who may not currently use the product… a new reason to consider it.

A Definition of Success

When visiting the “Concrete Combat” playlist on Sakrete’s YouTube channel, the astute observer will notice that the channel didn’t exactly blow up the internet. In fact, the season finale garnered a modest 15,000 views.

We don’t know what viewership was on Sakrete’s website. Or the audience breakdown on YouTube. While the numbers pale in comparison to what some other YouTube channels yield… the Concrete Combat show provides for a unique marketing proposition to the legions of contractors in our channel.

It would be a mistake to conclude that the numbers alone are an indicator of the campaign’s success. First of all, we doubt the show was ever intended to reach a significant general consumer audience. The pro audience it was courting is finite. So views represent a good segment of the overall target market. And huge opportunities for cross-channel activations.

Perhaps most importantly, the campaign demonstrates the real affinity and reverence Sakrete has for its most valuable and repeat-influencer customers. While it may have reached only a fraction of its target market, the campaign has generated invaluable goodwill among its pro users.

Are future seasons of “Concrete Combat” in the works? We’ll be watching.

Interested in exploring creative ways to grow your brand? Send an email to sk@kleberandassociates.com to get the conversation started.