Vacuum Ads take different tacks

From hardhitting to humorous, major vacuum makers are taking different approaches in their advertising campaigns to push their newest products this spring.

But the end results they’re after are the same: building brand awareness, increasing both year-round and promotional sales, and creating interest in new products and categories.

Spring is a key period for manufacturers to roll out their newest campaigns to coincide with both January product introductions shipping to retail and to capture gift sales for Mother’s and Father’s Day.

While seasonal ads generally increase, advertising is becoming a year-round effort for most of the top players. Vac manufacturers vie to outdo each other, and even themselves, year after year with mounting ad budgets. In 1994, the major players–including Hoover, Royal, Bissell and Eureka–spent more than $56 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

CMR–a New York-based firm that tracks 11 different media to provide information on competitive spending-estimated Hoover spent the most last year on advertising at $23.1 million, followed by Eureka, $15.7 million; Royal, $10.8 million; and Bissell, $7.1 million.

Each of the top companies promises to continue to get its word out, raising awareness for the entire industry. Retailers applaud the actions that continue to bring shoppers in their doors often singing jingles or holding unique ads.

Bissell’s tongue-in-cheek humorous spots focus on the deep cleaning category and its new upright. Eureka will run advertising on each of the major categories. Both Eureka and Bissell said their advertising expenditures will be the highest in their company’s histories but did not provide figures.

Royal’s campaign includes a new commercial that takes a harder hitting approach than past spots, while Hoover hopes to hit a home run with its first-ever sponsorship of Major e baseball teams. With the new baseball promotions and ongoing campaigns, Hoover plans to spend more than last year, a company executive said.

Ryobi Motor Products also will top past ad spending to promote both its High Efficiency Microfiltration system and its new extractors. The company plans to spend $4 million alone within a 10-week period.

Royal’s new Maximum Vacuum Power from Dirt Devil, a 12-amp upright, is being backed with millions of dollars in advertising and promotional support, the company said.

The spot starts with a ball rolling down what appears to be the front of a red car. The announcer says: “We’re pleased to announce our newest model not only passed the famous ball bearing test–it surpassed it.”

The picture flashes to show the ball is, in fact, rolling down the new MVP. John Balch, chief executive, and Sammy, the Royal dog, are pictured with the vacuum.

See more: Manual vacuum cleaner

“Of course, it’s my new Dirt Devil with Maximum Vacuum Power,” Balch says as he uses the vacuum’s hose to suck up the metal balls.

The spot ends with a new slogan: “Nothing escapes the power of a Dirt Devil” and shows a vacuum sucking up the letters before the machine’s headlight blinks accenting a final “nothing.”

The commercial is harder hitting than previous spots that starred Sammy and took a warm-hearted approach.

“There’s equity in John Balch and Sam,” says Michael Merriman, Royal president. “People recognize them. Sixty percent of homeowners have dogs. It’s an audience we’ve targeted in the past. The challenge is to take that equity and create a message of quality and performance, which I think we’ve done.”

Merriman said the spot goes beyond playing up the Royal name and gives consumers a motivation to purchase the product by emphasizing the Motorguard system, which guides dirt directly into the bag and not through the fan chamber.

“People know our name and recognize our name,” he said. “The next challenge is to give them a reason to buy Dirt Devil.”

The national MVP campaign started in mid-April and runs until the end of the month. The commercial is scheduled to appear on day-time television, night and morning news to capture viewers with different demographic profiles.

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