13211 Wed, 12/05/2007 - 5:55pm
By Michael Rudnick
NEW YORK--Vacuum cleaners may not always be the first item on holiday shopping lists, but floor care manufacturers have stepped up their efforts during this period of heightened shopper traffic.
Upstart vacuum maker Halo Co. timed its inaugural national consumer advertising campaign for the Halo UV-ST Ultraviolet vacuum for the holiday season. "With foot traffic going to the stores this time of year, it is a perfect time to launch new product," said Jeffery Collins, vice president of sales and marketing at Halo Co.
Halo's ad campaign, which kicked off in the beginning of October, includes national television advertisements, print ads in home and parenting magazines, an online campaign and outdoor advertising highlighted by a billboard in New York's Times Square.
Panasonic timed the launch of its first upright bagless cyclonic vacuum line with the start of the holiday season. The company's new AeroSpin line was launched last month. "It's just hitting the stores now, before Thanksgiving and Christmas," said Walter Taffarello, marketing manager at Panasonic Consumer Electronics home appliance group.
"We found out that the best months for vacuums are October, November, December, January and March," he added. "While [vacuums] are not presents for Christmas, people have more guests in their homes at that time of year, so they need to clean their houses. It is generally the time of year that you discover that your old vacuums don't work and need to be replaced."
Panasonic is working with its retail distributors to place the new vacuum line on endcaps, and is pushing the line via a variety of online advertising.
The new AeroSpin line sets itself apart from the cyclonic competition with an internal cleaning system in which the filter is cleaned every time the vacuum's cord is pulled out. The AeroSpin is available in a $249.99 model that includes Panasonic's dirt-sensor technology and a bare-floor setting, and a $199.99 model that does not feature these extras.
Panasonic last month also introduced its high-performance $699.99 AeroBlast line, which uses a blast of air to clean the filter every time the vacuum is turned on. This line, Panasonic's most expensive yet, is exclusively sold at high-end independent dealers, Taffarello said.
TTI Floor Care North America, owner of the Hoover and Dirt Devil brands, is keying in on its fashion-focused Karim Rashid designer line for the gift-giving season, said Chris Gurreri, president of TTI Floorcare North America. The Karim Rashid line now includes the Kone and Kurv hand vacs, and the new Kruz stick vacuum. Dirt Devil is pushing this "more gift-oriented" line for the holidays with a concentrated television advertising campaign, Gurreri said. "Retailers are tying in with endcaps and palette drops" of these products, he said.
Consumers are putting Dirt Devil vacuums on their holiday lists, Gurreri said. "Forty-nine percent of Kones [purchased last year] were given as gifts; it's the most giftable product we have probably ever had," he added.
TTI is also pushing its new Hoover vacuums during the holiday season via new television advertisements. "They are not as giftable [due to higher price points], but we push them because people are getting their houses ready for the holidays," Gurreri said. The new Hoover ads are for the All Terrain vacuum, the Floormate and the WindTunnel.
Electrolux, which also plays in the higher-price-point segment, is focusing on the lower end of its pricing spectrum for the holidays with its Ergorapido 2-in-1 stick and hand vacuum. "One item that we focus on for the holiday season with retailers is the Ergorapido," said Rob Newcombe, vice president of marketing with Electrolux Home Care Products North America. Newcombe added that the company works with its retail distributors to ensure that attention is called to the line via endcaps and stack-outs.
Stick and handheld vacuums tend to be a focus of vacuum manufacturers during the holiday season due to their lower price points and impulse-buy nature. "Our [stick vacuum] sell-through rates increase substantially this time of year," Newcombe said. He was unable to provide specific sales data.