It’s full steam ahead

SEB Canada has its eye on increasing its share of Canadian household iron sales.With that in mind, seb has expanded distribution of its Tefal brand irons, and is backing the move with an ad touting the product's key features.These include 1,200...

SEB Canada has its eye on increasing its share of Canadian household iron sales.

With that in mind, seb has expanded distribution of its Tefal brand irons, and is backing the move with an ad touting the product’s key features.

These include 1,200 watts of power, as opposed to the standard 1,000 watts, improved steam, aerodynamic styling and, most significantly, and most significantly a new sole plate coating of enamel-based Durillum.

France-based seb is one of the top producers of irons in the world behind Black & Decker and Philips.

In Canadian unit sales, seb holds fourth place behind market leader Black & Decker, with 40%, Proctor-Silex Canada, with 22%, and Philips, with 15%.

Doug Dragasevitch, seb director of marketing, says the purpose of the marketing push is to establish brand awareness for Tefal and reinforce its reputation as an innovator in the marketplace.

Dragasevitch says Tefal is going after the upscale market.

Tefal is more expensive than other brands and he says effectively owns the market for irons priced above $50.

While the competition sells their irons at prices ranging from $16 to $75, the eight models in Tefal’s lineup range from $60 to $120.

Tefal’s high frequency tv campaign, scheduled to run November through the third week of December, is highlighted by a spot with a scene-stealing shar-pei dog, a breed known as a Wrinkle Dog, called Bambi.

Bambi also appears in retail outlets on easel-back cards and in newspaper ads prepared for Tefal dealers.

Advertising for SEB Canada is handled by The Henderson Robb Group, with placement by Media Buying Services.

The tv spot was produced by Here’s How Productions. All are Toronto firms.

Dragasevitch says Tefal’s new sole plate coating, Durillum, is unlike other non-stick material because it will not scratch or peel.

He says that with Durillum, a person can iron over the zipper of a pair of blue jeans and not snag a silk blouse ironed immediately after.

About 40 years ago, Tefal developed the first non-stick coating T-Plus and the process of making the coating adhere to aluminum.

Other products, such as Teflon from DuPont, followed.

Both Black & Decker and Philips use DuPont’s SilverStone product to coat the surfaces of their irons.

When almost every household in Canada has an iron – in fact, the market penetration is 99% – the only way to move product is to concentrate on stimulating replacement buys.

The strategy must be working because about 1.13 million irons will be sold in Canada this year.

Iron marketers say that annual introductions of products with new features and technological advancements fuel the sales and are what make replacing an old iron appealing.

Roslyn Van Esch, product manager kitchen appliances and garment care for Philips Electronics, says the biggest trend in irons is extra steam.

Van Esch says the more steam, the easier to remove wrinkles and that is important for today’s natural fabrics which are prone to wrinkling.

The quality of steam, that is steam that is powerful and consistent, depends on the size and engineering of the iron’s inner water chamber.

Iron makers are also moving from 1,000-watt irons to 1,200 watts to accommodate busy lifestyles.

Van Esch says people do not have a lot of time to wait for irons to heat up, and the higher the wattage, the faster the heating process.

Philips sells three series of irons. The two higher-priced lines are1,200-watt, while the bottom end remains at 1,000.

Margot Adams, Black & Decker product manager, garment care, says all of b&d’s 16 models of irons are now 1,200-watt.

Adams says the business relies on advancements in technology rather than major breakthroughs.

In the next 12 to 18 months, she says b&d will be introducing new irons with several new features as well as new styling.

She says other features popular with consumers are non-stick coatings on sole plates, self-cleaning, automatic shut-off, burst of steam, spray and extra-long electrical cords.