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Home Improvement

Easy-to-Use Products Appeal to Consumers

November 02, 1986|Dale Baldwin

When it comes to pioneering, those folks from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are hard to beat.

Wagner Spray Tech Inc., Minneapolis, has introduced seven new do-it-yourself products in the last 12 months, to be marketed along with its air-driven power painting products, the Power Roller and the Power Painter.

Across the Mississippi River, in St. Paul, the Home Products Division of 3M has introduced its latest Press-in-Place caulk, the Tub & Sink Caulk. The firm already has been marketing Press-in-Place exterior caulk in white, brown or gray, as well as window glazing in white, according to Al DeCiccio of 3M.

One of the most painstaking jobs is using a tube of caulk around a bathtub or sink, where the tub or sink meets the tiled wall. It's a messy task and virtually impossible to get an even bead of caulk, according to Liza Burgess, a 3-M spokeswoman and former producer/host of a weekly television consumer show in Dallas. As a recent buyer of a fixer-upper in Dallas, Burgess has found the various Press-in-Place products invaluable.

The 3M product puts the caulk on a paper liner, so all you have to do is to clean out loose old caulk and apply the new material by unrolling it from the roll. Complete instructions are on the package.

Wagner Spray Tech worked with King-Casey Inc., a design and marketing consulting firm in New Canaan, Conn., to come up with products that would appeal to a new breed of Yuppie do-it-yourselfers, as well as older ones fed up with existing products.

Many of these do-it-yourselfers are women, since 45% of all do-it-yourself purchases are made by women, according to Sue Bassin of King-Casey.

The "Added Touches" line from Wagner is geared to women, with packaging showing a woman's flawlessly manicured hand. The four-product line includes repair kits to fix a wall gouge, fill a nail hole, painting carefully around windows.

The latter task is accomplished with a paint pump with an applicator pad. The worker fills the storage cylinder with paint--a much simpler task than working out of a quart or gallon can. Another painting product in the Added Touches line--Touch Ups--consists of a paint packet system which comes with four prefilled packets of paint and a packet holder (try saying those last eight words quickly three or four times!).

The Wall Fix and Wood Fix kits put the sandpaper where it cannot be lost: right on the bottom of the container. A great idea!

Wagner's replacement for masking tape is called Glass Mask. It comes in an applicator shaped to fit a hand (wonder of wonders!) and includes a scraper to remove the product after the paint job is completed. Wagner also makes a one-hand tape applicator for applying masking tape on larger jobs.

According to King-Casey's Bassin, women are more receptive to new products in the do-it-yourself field, with 73% of the women tested expressing a "positive purchase intent" contrasted with only 48% of the men.

King-Casey designed the products in conjunction with Wagner, and the Connecticut firm also designed the packaging.

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