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On a Roll: Duck Brand Sticks With Customers


Have you ever loved a tape’s print design? I mean, really loved a tape’s print design? Loved it so much that when that print was discontinued, you took to social media to express your disappointment?

David Rodgers knows what it’s like when people get attached to their favorite tape designs. He is the senior digital marketing manager at ShurTech Brands, where he’s responsible for the Duck Tape brand along with FrogTape painter’s tape, Painter’s Mate Green, and the rest of the company’s DIY and home-solution brands. His team creates social media content for Duck Tape and monitors social media conversations about the product.

Rodgers asks that everyone on his team signs into the company’s social-listening platform every morning. “It’s easy to become insular about your brand,” he says. “You need to know what the perceptions of your brand are beyond your own message.” The team not only gets ideas and inspiration from Duck Tape users, but also aims for heartfelt two-way conversations out of respect for its passionate customers.

That person who used Instagram to share disappointment about the discontinued tape design? Instead of a short “sorry-about-that” message, the Duck Tape team took the time to write a meaningful response and engage with that customer. “People deserve a long, genuine response when they take the time to contact you,” Rodgers says. He uses the analogy of a romantic relationship, and the disappointment of getting a short reply to a heartfelt, personal message.

Rather than rushing out content several times a day, Rodgers says, he would rather have the brand’s Instagram manager generate one or two pieces of content and use the rest of the time to respond to user comments and engage with user-generated content. “There’s already a lot of brand content out there,” Rodgers says. “Building relationships, rather than just posting content, becomes more important. And that personal touch can help a smaller brand stand out from the competition.”

Engaging w/users rather than just posting #content can help a smaller brand stand out says @daverodgers Click To Tweet

The audience for Duck Tape is broad. It includes teenage girls, crafty moms, and DIYers. Influencers, from Radio Disney personalities to the top crafters on YouTube, help the Duck brand focus on its distinct audiences. “We’re not necessarily looking for partners for simple product placement,” Rodgers says. “We want to cultivate relationships.”

A single digital marketing team works across all the ShurTech brands, though the company supplements their work with partners and freelancers as needed. “We look for low-resource, low-cost, low-risk opportunities that have a chance of great returns,” Rodgers says. Instead of short bursts of activity that take a big chunk out of the budget, it’s important for Duck Tape to consistently produce quality content.

Video-creation contest

Duck brand sourced a series of videos from the creative crowdsourcing platform, Tongal, a company that plays matchmaker between filmmakers and brands. Here’s how Tongal works:

  • Brands post a new project idea (i.e., creative brief) to Tongal, including the price they’ll pay for winning ideas and winning videos.
  • Individuals and studios submit ideas and can get questions answered on a dedicated forum site for each project.
  • Winning ideas are selected (and compensated). Filmmakers then select one of those ideas and submit their vision of how to carry it out – from storyboards and location pictures to talent and scripts.
  • The brand selects a handful of filmmakers to turn their concepts into a film. Now it’s time to get started with production.
  • Filmmakers submit videos, and the brand selects the winning video as well as finalists. Both the overall winner and finalists are paid for their efforts.

Duck brand’s biggest hit using Tongal was Duck Tron, which earned 3.5 million views across YouTube, Vimeo, and other video platforms. “Lighting struck,” Rodgers says.

Stuck at Prom

Celebrating its 15th year, the Duck brand Stuck at Prom scholarship contest rewards teens who create unique prom-wear using Duck Tape. Judges select 10 couples; the public then votes for first, second, and third place. Over the course of the contest, Duck brand has given away more than $350,000 to students and schools.


The idea for the contest came when the company saw that teens already were using duct tape to get creative with their prom outfits. “This is new and interesting,” the Duck Tape team thought, “Let’s see if we can get some PR buzz, some national media attention.” That first year, Duck Tape received several hundred entries – many more than expected. The voting period brought unprecedented website traffic. The Duck Tape team relied on its email database and word of mouth to promote the contest until the idea took off on social media.

The Stuck at Prom lifetime stats are impressive:

  • 7,733 entries
  • 515,229 votes
  • 92,796 rolls of tape
  • 386,650 hours crafting prom outfits


Duck Tape Festival

For some folks, the Avon Heritage Duck Tape Festival is kind of a big deal. The three-day event in June has more than 16,000 followers on Pinterest and over 50,000 attendees from across the country who come each year to Duck Tape’s hometown in Ohio.

The entertainment includes music, magic, a parade, and a Duck Tape fashion show. “It’s in-person event marketing, and we do it well,” says Rodgers. “We like going places and meeting people firsthand.”

At the 2015 festival, the team used Periscope to broadcast the parade as it unfolded. As many as 800 people from around the world watched the feed. The festival also is an opportunity for the marketing team to get to know – and showcase – some of the brand’s biggest fans.

The festival sets a good tone for the brand, Rodgers says. “It’s quirky and fun.” The event also helps Duck Tape create a wealth of social media content. When the team recently created a social media image archive, “It came to light how much content we have,” Rodgers says.


ShurTech measures its content marketing success using a scorecard that takes into account three dimensions: impressions, engagements, and conversions. The team looks for a balance between the three. Thinking about what’s next for Duck Tape, Rodgers would like to do more branded storytelling. The product is about stories. As he says, “Everyone has used Duck Tape to fix something, sometimes in an unexpected way. They’re proud of their ingenuity.”

How to Measure Engagement the Right Way

This article originally appeared in the April issue of Chief Content Officer. Sign up to receive your free subscription to our bimonthly print magazine.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute