That’s Pro.

This is a good commercial.

Cabot Stains uses a simple misdirection to set up the payoff. It’s a commercial that’s been made a thousand times before, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Standards are standards for a reason.

The line “finish like a pro with Cabot wood stains” is well made. Especially when you finish it like a pro with “Cabot, that’s pro.”

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. A Stain on Creativity says:

    You say this is a good commercial? If so, it only confirms that good is the enemy of great.

    • I was careful to say good not great, and I’m not implying this is good in an award-winning way. Just saying I like the idea — a dumb guy who can’t even grill corn on the cob without torching it, can still be be the hero of the party by sealing his deck with Cabot. And I like the way the line, “That’s pro” enforces the idea.

      • Rick Geisel3 says:

        All things being relative, I opine that it may actually be a great spot for the category.  Wood stain doesn’t exactly scream excitement.  At least this isn’t somebody staining their deck talking about the product features… 

        • A Stain on Creativity says:

          Well, isn’t that the point of good versus great? If you come into a project, should you not be seeking to break through the category static? This spot – and the overall campaign – seems lazy. It’s the old “you may not know how to do blank, but you can still look like an expert doing blank – thanks to our brand.” It seems like other agencies have done reasonably interesting spots for protecting decks from the elements. 

        • David T. Jones says:

          Thanks “Stain” and Rick for comments.
          My agency Third Street made these ads. The only other good/great work I can think of for wood stain came from Euro Chicago also for Cabot a few years back. I assume you’re referring to those ads or even worked on them yourself. Very well done spots – really cool, but, according to the client, they didn’t sell much stain. Also, one of the ads featured a giant tsunami unfortunately right around the time a tsunami hit Indonesia. But beyond those ads, the world of wood stain advertising is a total sea of blah. The only thing more boring than watching paint dry might just be watching stain dry.Agree that every agency should approach a project with ambitions to make great work. That great work must also satisfy the brief, appeal to the demo and sell product – not just make blog commenters happy, as satisfying as that may be.I do agree that the notion of “you might not know how to do something, but our product can help you do something else” is not brand new. I dare say it is the basis of most advertising. But I do  believe we’ve approached that premise with a restraint and humor NOT seen as often – and I promise you not seen in this category.
          Just my totally biased opinion.

          -David T. Jones
          Third Street

          • A Stain on Creativity says:

            Actually, the Euro RSCG spot you referenced was reminiscent
            of stuff that Cramer-Krasselt has done for another deck protection product. Your
            mentioning of it jogged my memory, but no, I did not work on it. Regardless, I still
            think your ads don’t go far enough to create a breakthrough message – or even
            make me want to choose Cabot over other brands. But I’m sure time will tell.
            Although I’ll say right now that if your stuff leads to significant sales
            increases, I’ll personally refinish your deck. BTW, it’s ironic (perhaps not
            the right word) that you may have landed the business after Euro RSCG, as the CEO
            there is also named David Jones. 

          • David T. Jones says:

            Mr (or Mrs) Stain. Thanks for the note and for spending time thinking about our campaign. I’m not familiar with the C+K spots, but they’re a great agency and probably did some nice work. While I’m sorry that you’re not digging the spots, I’m excited that you’ll be refinishing my deck as Cabot sales are indeed up. While I’m not suggesting that this – or any – TV campaign would be totally to credit for sales, I do believe Third Street and Cabot’s efforts on TV, as well as print, trade, radio, sports sponsorships, online, promotion and distribution share in the sales uptick.
            I’m aware of Euro’s David Jones and have met him a couple times. Often in advertising circles he is referred to as the handsomer and more successful David Jones, but that kind of talk hurts my feelings.
            But his name and mine are indeed the same and I sign my comments with that name, unlike you, who remain anonymous. Totally your right to do so of course, but don’t you think all these anonymous (and so often negative) blog comments are kind of a drag?
            In any case, thanks again for your thoughts. I sincerely appreciate them.
            But now back to the business of you refinishing my deck. I’ll need you to pick up 3 gallons of stain – any old brand is fine.