DUBLIN: Masonry paint brand Sandtex, achieved a 20% sales increase last year following a social media-based promotion that also saw B&Q stock the product.

This time last year, the brand had falling sales hampered not being stocked by large retailers such as B&Q.

With euro 120 000 to spend on advertising, Sandtex opted for a combination of public relations, outdoor advertisements and social media. The campaign became a significant success on Facebook, where the brand amassed more than 10 000 active Irish fans over the four-month long campaign, second only to Guinness. It was also a hit on Twitter.

Sandtex ended the year with a 20% sales increase despite Ireland having the wettest summer since records began.

This year, Sandtex still has a modest advertising budget – euro 150 000 – and it is taking a similar approach to last year.

Kevin Whelan, Crown Paints marketing controller said: "We were extremely happy with how it went last year because it was a very new venture for us."

"For us, the key was the networking element of it, getting people to our blog and the Facebook site. We've moved it on a little bit but we're running a similar campaign this year."