Vacuum cleaner vendors are gearing up for the fourth quarter with the industry’s most aggressive schedule ever of advertising and promotion. The goal: to accelerate sales at retail, which as of July were running nearly 2 percent ahead of last year’s record business.
While declining to provide specific dollar figures, several vendors said they intend to increase advertising spending this year beyond that of last year. Many said their ad spending would reach new highs.
“Beginning with the fourth quarter we’re rolling out the most aggressive television advertising campaign in our history,” said Jerry Lauer, vice president of marketing for Hoover. “It will be the most extensive campaign not just this year, but in the history of our company in terms of content as well as expenditure.”
“Without a doubt, this is our largest-ever ad campaign,” noted Gary Gosztonyi, vice president of sales and marketing for Ryobi Motor Products, which markets vacs under the Singer brand. “We’ve made a commitment to this business. It’s a consumer business, and we’ve got to support our products and our retail customers with advertising and promotion.”
Likewise, vac segment power players Eureka and Royal have also committed heavy dollars to advertising for the fourth quarter. In Royal’s case, newly appointed chief executive Michael Merriman noted that the company will be reallocating dollars from its European business in order to better drive its domestic sales.
Eureka, which is consistently among the largest consumer advertisers in the category, is also pumping up its effort heading into the fourth quarter with network and cable television ads that will now include the company’s newest line of vacs, Victory, along with continuing the emphasis on its Bravo line.
Pieces that Eureka has slotted for increased advertising attention this year include the company’s Boss Hand Vac and its Corvette Hand Vac, which will be featured extensively for their gift-giving value.
In addition to its on-air ad slate, which will include Eureka’s Mighty Mite canisters, its Excalibur line and stick brooms, the company is increasing its efforts in print to sell consumers on the clean-air benefits of its Victory line.
Bissell, which in the past has focused primarily on long-form infomercials for its Big and Little Green Machines, as well as for the Bissel Plus upright vac, will be switching gears going down the stretch with 30-second spots on network and cable television for its Plus unit.
“We’re looking toward a pretty extensive national program combining TV and print,” said Dave Kagan, director of advertising at Bissell.
Black & Decker is also planning to raise its advertising levels this year for its Dustbuster hand vac which will be featured in a new series of ads slated to begin during the Thanksgiving to Christmas stretch run.
“It’s really all about helping our retail customers drive their business,” said Dann Provolo, product manager of cleaning products at Black & Decker. “There is a lot more competitive activity out there and we want to make sure that Dustbuster gets its say in the marketplace.”
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In addition to the heavier ad schedule, Provolo noted that the company will also look to do a variety of mass stack and value-added promotions in conjunction with the efforts of individual retailers.
“One thing that has worked well with the Dustbuster, is coupling the unit with a couple of free filters,” he said. Consumers recognize the value and convenience of picking up the filters at the time of purchase, he explained.
In terms of advertising message, vac manufacturers are focusing heavily on higher levels of features in an effort to get consumers thinking value for the money rather than price.
“When you look at the floor care market you have good value and good price now. How much lower can you go?” asked Ryobi’s Gosztonyi. “You have to sell value and features to keep the price up.”
Ryobi’s focus will be on promoting its most recently introduced offerings, which are being shipped in time for fourth quarter placement. The emphasis of its ads will be on the products’ unique features and benefits, according to Gosztonyi.
Among the items getting heavy ad support are the compay’s models WS750, hand held deep cleaner, dubbed the Spot Cop and its model WS1500, a canister deep cleaner that works on bare floors and windows.
“We will be concentrating on value-added, upscale segments of the business,” said Hoover’s Lauer. The company’s ads this fall will be aimed at supporting Hoover’s most recent product introductions,the Steam Vac Deluxe and its Dirt Finder family.