B&D ad plans for bread maker

Black & Decker Canada, which claims to have captured 25% to 30% of the small but rapidly growing market for breadmakers in under a year, has unveiled plans to get a further rise out of sales.In late September, the Richmond Hill,...

Black & Decker Canada, which claims to have captured 25% to 30% of the small but rapidly growing market for breadmakers in under a year, has unveiled plans to get a further rise out of sales.

In late September, the Richmond Hill, Ont.-based company will begin shipping a new version of its All-In-One Automatic Breadmaker, which was first introduced to the market in September 1993.

Key improvements in the 1994 model included enhanced timer features and the capacity to produce a two-pound bread loaf, rather than the one-and-a-half-pound loaf of its predecessor.

Not only is b&d putting an upgraded appliance on store shelves this year, it is backing the product with a more aggressive marketing plan.

Last year, b&d left All-In-One’s product advertising in the hands of the retailers.

While retailers will be called on for their support again this year, b&d is also stepping in with several marketing initiatives of its own.

For one thing, b&d will run a product ad in the October issue of Canadian Living.

In the same month, it plans to distribute 3.7 million direct mail ads to households across the country.

And in October and November, will run a cross-promotion with Five Roses Flour, made by A.D.M Ogilvie of Montreal, and Fleischmann’s Yeast, made by the Mississauga, Ont. company of the same name.

As part of the program, b&d will give away coupons for the flour and yeast products with each breadmaker sold.

For their part, Fleischmann’s Yeast and A.D.M. Ogilvie will conduct a sweepstakes across Canada in which 75 of the latest model b&d All-in-One Automatic Breadmaker will be handed out as prizes.

Additionally, they will include information about the b&d-brand appliances on the packaging of their yeast and flour products.

At the time b&d, which has 25% of the overall small household appliance market in Canada, introduced its breadmaker in Canada, there was already strong competition in the market from Sanyo, Japan’s leading small appliance maker, and other brands such as Citizen, Westbend, Charlescraft and Goldstar.

Total sales of all brands in Canada rose to 140,000 in 1993 from 85,000 units in 1992, and are expected to reach more than 200,000 by the end of 1994.

Automatic breadmakers first appeared in Japan about seven years ago. In Canada, they caught on first in b.c. three or four years ago and have been spreading eastward ever since.

Early models retailed in the $500 range, but with suppliers turning to China for their manufacture, prices have dropped to about $300 for top line models and as low as $150 for price brands selling in mass retailers such as Canadian Tire.

Significantly, breadmakers have already achieved No. 2 status in dollar value sales in the housewares category, with sales this year expected to total at least $40 million.

According to industry players, the rapid sales growth is being driven by the fact that breadmakers are convenient, produce a healthy product and provide users with an enjoyable activity.

The user simply blends together the ingredients of whatever type of bread is desired, pours them into the breadmaker, and pushes a button.

The machine mixes the dough, kneads it, allows it to rise and then bakes it. Baking time is three and a half hours. Some models have timers, enabling the user to program the baking to finish up to 13 hours hence.

Says David Lackey, b&d senior product manager: ‘Everybody loves fresh bread. And it brings back memories of when mother – or father – used to bake it.’

‘We have been selling out since day one,’ Lackey says.

The breadmaker can also be used to make dough for pizzas, bagels and croissants.

David Dalrymple, sales promotion manager with Sanyo-Fisher, says sales are driven by a basic home-making instinct in consumers.

‘The idea of waking up in the morning to fresh bread is really all you need to sell them,’ Dalrymple says.

He says breadmaker manufacturers have thus far shied away from major media ad campaigns because the product segment, while representing significant dollar sales, produces relatively low profit margins.

To date, most consumer awareness in automatic breadmakers has been generated by word of mouth, but Dalrymple notes dough ingredient manufacturers are now getting into the act.

In addition to the activities of Fleischmann’s Yeast and A.D.M. Ogilvie, Robin Hood Multifoods of Markham, Ont. is producing a packaged bread mix.

Garry King, vice-president and account director with ad agency bbdo, which handles the b&d account in Canada, says much of the promotion of breadmakers has been through editorial coverage and consumer word-of-mouth.

King says that as with the introduction of the microwave oven, sales are taking off with little advertising support.

Lackey says the sales potential of the breadmaker is evident in that market penetration is less than 5% of Canadian households.

One marketing problem confronting breadmaker manufacturers is that users must learn to operate the appliance.

b&d has produced a special cookbook that takes into consideration specific qualities of Canadian flour. The cookbook and an instructional video are included with each breadmaker.