Sherwin-Williams is draining the web of its color and donating it to communities in need

A social campaign via agency McKinney has a goal of supplying 10 million square feet of paint.

Paint brands frequently use social media to show off vibrant products. Now, Sherwin-Williams, in its new social media campaign, hopes the absence of color will serve as a reminder of its value.

Beginning on Tuesday, the paint brand is encouraging consumers to donate the color in their social media photos, web browsers and personal websites. Created by McKinney, the campaign pairs Sherwin-Williams with The Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Canada, Ronald McDonald House and Rebuilding Together to transform these donations into fresh coats of paint for communities in need of a little color.

"You don’t know how much color matters until you don’t have it," says the narrator of a 30-second social spot that promotes the campaign.

Users can participate in three ways. One option is to upload a color photo to Sherwin-Williams will turn the photo black and white, and donate 500 square feet of paint if the photo is shared online. Consumers can also download a Chrome extension that will drain the color from all webpages browsed. For every hour a user browses with this extension, Sherwin-Williams will donate 1,000 square feet of paint. The third way pertains to users with personal websites. At, users can find an HTML code that will turn a website gray, resulting in a donation of 5,000 square feet of color. Of course, users can complete all three to donate 6,500 square feet of paint.

One can of paint can cover up to 400 square feet, about the size of a large bathroom. Sherwin-Williams’ goal is to reach 10 million square feet.

The campaign also gives Sherwin-Williams the opportunity to engage DIYers ahead of National Paint Week, May 19-29.

To get the momentum going, DIY influencers and publishers Vintage Revivals, Curbly, City Farmhouse, Thistlewood Farms, Apartment Therapy and Brit+Co will be donating the color from their websites and social media profiles. Sherwin-Williams' agencies Resource/Ammirati, Carmichael Lynch Relate and AC&M will also be donating the color from their websites. 

Cheering up communities with a fresh paint job has become a tradition for Sherwin-Williams employees in recent years.   

"Sometimes, we don’t appreciate something until it’s gone, and that applies to color as well," said Ellen Moreau, senior vice president, marketing communications at Sherwin-Williams. "For several years now, Sherwin-Williams has been celebrating the benefit of a fresh coat of paint with National Painting Week. This year, we’re inviting our fans to get involved in a new way, and for a good cause, as we illustrate the role color plays in our communities, homes and everyday lives."

Sherwin-Williams is the latest paint brand to find an original way to break away from the medley of images on social. Last week, competitor Valspar partnered with The Onion for videos that used humor to poke fun at the headaches that come with choosing a paint color. 

According to a J.D. Power study released last week, customer satisfaction with a paint brand is highly influenced by a paint brand’s variety of colors and finishes. In the study, Sherwin-Williams ranked the highest in customer satisfaction among interior paint brands, mostly due to its product offerings.

Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately implied that Sherwin-Williams employees took steps other than painting to revitalize spaces in the U.S. and Canada. We regret the error. 

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