5 Stinky Story

The 5-Stinky Story

In December of 1999, owners Bob and Roy Birnie discovered that their family’s company had been left out of the Yellow Pages for the 1999-2000 book. They were devastated as at this time, the Yellow Pages phone book was the main source of marketing for most companies. With their father Thos. R. Birnie being in his 80’s at the time, many in the community thought the company had gone out of business and had decided not to renew its Yellow Pages advertising.

Once the new book went into circulation, the company’s call count started to decline drastically and by January of the new year they had dropped as low as 50%. At the time, the business had 15 employees between both the service trucks and road crew.

A plumber who worked for the company, Paul, came to ownership and mentioned that his wife Helena who worked in print media might be able to help get them through this time. She provided them with lots of ideas and information about where to put ads, however this was mainly directly towards magazines.

Bob and Roy knew they needed to go bigger, so they spoke with Dick Thompson at CHML about their situation. After their discussion, on January 28, 2000 they received a note from CHML that read:

“We realize your loss of business will be tremendous…we are going to give you twenty 30 second commercials each weekend from now until March 26th…and this will be on a no charge basis. We want to help as much as we can and minimize your losses.”

Bob and Roy also explained their situation to Mike Samples at CHCH. In response the station ran the company’s ads during their 7-8pm prime time slot. CHCH worked with the company in an effort to support a business of longevity in the city, providing very reasonable rates. This support from both local stations during their time of need was an answer of prayer for the Birnie family.

In order to continue to promote their business, Bob and Roy knew they needed to come up with something to help customers remember their company’s phone number. At the time the business was already using the slogan “it’s a stinky business and we love it!” It was Bob’s wife Judy who came up with the idea of using STINKY directly in the phone number.

Bob and Roy worked at putting the STINKY letters to numbers. They also knew they needed the “5” in front as this was the office’s area number for phone numbers at the time (and numbers could not be ported). Once they determined the 5-STINKY number, they called it to see who owned it. Bob and Roy reached a woman who agreed to meet with them at their office to discuss buying her unlisted number. When the women came to their office she brought a friend, and Bob and Roy explained to her how her number would be good for their business. They didn’t mention her number spelled stinky! After their discussion she agreed to give the company her number. The business covered all the costs for switching her phone to a new number and paid for one year of phone bills.

With the company’s new 5-Stinky phone number ready, the team met with Gord McCallum from Arteest who revamped the company’s logo and updated the business’ marketing to the 5-Stinky branding. The company then began to advertise their new branding to the community through many avenues such as commercials, home shows, and flyers. In 2001, the business returned to the Yellow Pages phone book with their new phone number and in 2002 was even the first company to have an advertisement on the spine of the book! To this day the company continues to be remembered in the communities it serves for its 5-Stinky branding.

The Birnie Plumbing & Drains Guarantee

When you choose Birnie Plumbing & Drains for your home’s plumbing needs in Hamilton and across the Golden Horseshoe, you can be sure that you will be provided with a first-class level of service that you’ll be more than satisfied with.

Trusted for Over 100 Years

We are original family-owned and operated for over 100 years and have delighted tens of thousands of our fellow residents with our expert and professional Hamilton plumbing services. Through the decades, we’ve built an unshakeable reputation for integrity, honesty, quality, reliability, and superior customer service. Generations of families and businesses have trusted us to keep their plumbing systems in optimal condition.

Clear, Up-front Pricing

Enjoy the benefit of making a fully informed decision with our upfront quotations that are calculated on an individual per-job basis. Before we start any work, our experts will provide a detailed estimate, giving you a complete understanding of the job scope and costs. This approach lets you make informed decisions and eliminates surprises when the bill arrives. There are no hidden fees or unexpected costs—what you see is what you get.

Fully Licensed and Insured

Birnie Plumbing & Drains is completely licensed and insured for all your plumbing needs in Hamilton and across the Golden Horseshoe. Our insurance coverage protects you and your property, making us a risk-free choice for all your plumbing needs. By choosing us, you’re not just getting quality service; you’re also getting assurance from working with a fully accredited business.

Written Warranties

At Birnie Plumbing & Drains, we stand firmly behind the quality of our work and the materials we use. That’s why each of our services comes with a comprehensive written warranty, clearly outlining the terms and duration of your coverage. This ensures that you know exactly what to expect and what is covered should any issues arise post-service.

Rapid Response - 24/7

When a plumbing emergency strikes, time is of the essence. We are available 24/7, and with GPS, we send you the nearest available plumber so you can be sure of a rapid response when you have a plumbing emergency. You can count on us to arrive promptly, diagnose the problem accurately, and implement effective solutions to get your systems back up and running.

Convenient Service Calls

We understand the importance of punctuality, so we’ll always strive to be with you as soon as possible. Our scheduling system is designed to accommodate your busy life, offering flexible times that work around your commitments. Once an appointment is confirmed, you can expect our technicians to arrive punctually, equipped with everything they need to resolve your plumbing issues swiftly and efficiently. We also send out notifications before our arrival, so you’re never left wondering when help will arrive.


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