$1-million campaign

Hoover switches on to brand buildingAfter going 10 years with no brand-building advertising, Hoover Canada plans to make itself seen and heard in 1993.John Alston, marketing manager for the Burlington, Ont.-based vacuum cleaner manufacturer, says Hoover will spend $1 million on...

Hoover switches on to brand building

After going 10 years with no brand-building advertising, Hoover Canada plans to make itself seen and heard in 1993.

John Alston, marketing manager for the Burlington, Ont.-based vacuum cleaner manufacturer, says Hoover will spend $1 million on brand advertising during the year.

Most of the money will be spent on tv, with a portion directed at women’s magazines.

The campaign, to be created by Hoover’s newly appointed agency, Toronto’s Miller Myers Bruce DallaCosta, is slated to begin in late spring or early summer.

Alston says the media buy will be heaviest in the fall because vacuum cleaner sales have historically been strongest during the period leading up to Christmas.

Alston, who joined Hoover 20 years ago in sales and gradually worked his way up the ranks, says he has fought for a decade to convince the company brass of the importance of brand advertising.

But he says his efforts were to no avail until recently because sales had been increasing as a result of an aggressive sales and promotions strategy.

Additionally, he says Hoover’s Canadian competitors were not taking an aggressive brand-building stance, so it was hard to make a case for Hoover to do so.

Last year, however, two u.s.-based manufacturers, Royal Appliance and Regina, began running tv advertising in Canada in support of their Canadian distributors.

Alston says that made all the difference, adding Hoover responded quickly by running a u.s. tv spot late in the year.

Shortly thereafter, it launched an agency review that led to the appointment of mmbd earlier this month.

‘[This year] will be quite a departure for us,’ Alton says. ‘We’re going to get into brand advertising like we haven’t in a long time.’

Agencies short-listed for the account were incumbent Kelley Advertising of Hamilton and Toronto, and Saffer Advertising and Kert Advertising, both of Toronto.

According to Toronto research firm Market Facts, Canadians spent $280 million on portable and built-in vacuum cleaners in 1991.

All told, about 700,000 units were sold at an average cost of $400 (hand-held and industrial models not included.)

Door-to-door brands, primarily Electrolux and Filter Queen, account for about 20% of the market.

The balance is split among a handful of store brands, of which Sears’ Kenmore line is the market leader and Hoover is second.

Since the early 1980s, Hoover’s ad budget has been invested almost entirely in retailer co-op advertising.

Alton says he realizes the strategy was successful in driving sales, but he questions the long-term effects on the Hoover brand image.

‘It was always `Come on down, Hoover’s on sale,’ ‘ he says.

Alton says his goal in developing the new campaign is to ‘add value to the brand for the retailer.’

‘By strengthening the brand, we can strengthen our position with the retailer.’

For a number of years, Hoover has positioned its products on the basis of cleaning effectiveness and power efficiency.

Alton says the new campaign will reinforce that positioning and also attempt to modernize the brand.

‘We tend to have an old-fashioned image and people are surprised that we have new products,’ he says.PA