B&D surges ahead

Canada expects the recent launch of its SurgeXpress brand irons to help solidify its leadership position in the iron market.b&d, the world's largest iron manufacturer, boasts a 40% share of the Canadian market, well ahead of the second-leading manufacturer, Proctor-Silex, which...

Canada expects the recent launch of its SurgeXpress brand irons to help solidify its leadership position in the iron market.

b&d, the world’s largest iron manufacturer, boasts a 40% share of the Canadian market, well ahead of the second-leading manufacturer, Proctor-Silex, which has a 22% share.

Philips, with a 15% share, ranks third in the list.

Geoff Brock, b&d’s marketing manager, says SurgeXpress contains new design features enabling it to produce 40% more steam, and to reheat faster, than any other brand on the market.

Canadians are expected to buy 1.2 million irons in 1994.

According to Brock, buyers place a strong emphasis on an iron’s steam-producing capability, adding, as much as half the market is classified as being steam-driven.

Consumers also expect irons to be lightweight, have a non-stick sole plate and heat up quickly.

Brock says b&d spent five years developing SurgeXpress, adding ‘we already had a pretty good product, so to notch it up that step has taken a lot of design.’

The company has priced the SurgeXpress from $40 to $70, while lowering prices on its previous top-of-the-line irons.

Brock says the price is competitive, adding that because b&d is a mass-market brand, it needs to stay competitively priced.

Irons priced above $70 account for only 4% of the Canadian market.

Brock says b&d’s various iron lines, ranging from Light ‘n Easy at the low end, with a starting price of $15, to SurgeXpress at the high end, cover the price points of 95% of the market.

b&d has changed the way it looks at the iron category, and SurgeXpress is the first new product to come from that evolution.

Additional irons are expected to be unveiled early in the new year.

‘For a long time, we looked at the iron line by price points,’ Brock says.

But ‘we’ve reinvented our thinking over the past year and a half, and we’re now looking at irons as consumers look at irons,’ he says.

‘The design of the product comes from testing how people iron. We’re bringing out one line for batch ironers [people who like to iron a whole laundry basket at a time], one for steam-driven consumers, and another for garment-at-a-time ironers.’

SurgeXpress is aimed at the steam-driven market.

b&d’s new approach to the iron category manifests itself in its product marketing program.

The company’s new iron packaging, for instance, facilitates product selection by indicating whether the iron inside is designed for consumers who are steam-driven, garment-at-a-time or batch ironers.

Two tv spots, one 15 seconds and the other 30 seconds, have been created for SurgeXpress by BBDO Canada and will air in November.