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All ads up.

HEAVY ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS, infomercials and a heavy slate of co-op ads are igniting sales of extractor and wet/dry vacuums. As new players have entered both categories, manufacturers are implementing some of their company's largest advertising campaigns to date. These advertising campaigns, by some of the biggest names in the floor care category, are sparking consumer awareness and helping to drive the categories.

"Television is really driving sales," said Jerry Lauer, vice president of marketing for Hoover. "Our ad campaign on SteamVacs forced our competition to advertise and to defend their position in the market. This increased advertising of the top two players has driven retail sales this year."

Gary Gosztonyi, vice president of marketing and sales for Ryobi Motor Products, agrees. "We've had no choice but to advertise our products," he said. "It has to be part of the program. In order to stay competitive, it's become a necessity."

"There is more emphasis on the category and a more aggressive attitude among manufacturers," he added. "Advertising and promotions have created a greater awareness of the category.

"Competition is healthy. The more players involved the more advertising and promotion can help the category."

In the past, Ryobi has done a limited amount of national advertising, but the company is now spending millions to launch its new products through a television and print advertising campaign, Gosztonyi said.

It does not seem likely that manufacturers will decrease their advertising campaigns in 1996. In fact, many are stepping up plans for later this year and into next year.

"During the fourth quarter, we have implemented our largest advertising campaign in history," Lauer said. "Two of our three new commercials feature extractors and is definitely a priority category for us. I think the competition is looking at how to make their products more consumer friendly."

Hoover also plans to continue its aggressive TV campaign in 1996. The company is sponsoring 23 NBA teams by advertising on three cable networks that feature NBA games. During each game, Hoover will be featured in several television spots.

"This should stimulate wet/dry sales since viewership is skewed toward males, which are the primary users of wet/dry vacs," Lauer said. "Both the extractor and wet dry vac markets are going to grow, due to low saturation and increased promotions"

"The wet/dry category was a little slower getting started," he added. "The business has picked up nicely this fall. Our big push in wet/dry vacs is a national rebate campaign that will run through January. Consumers can get either $10 or $15 off the regular price." The program is being featured in national magazines and on television.

Bissell is currently working on its media plans now and is looking at national, cable and syndicated television campaigns for next year. The campaign will consist primarily of 30-second television spot advertising plus print.

"We are significantly stepping up our level of advertising," Krzeminski said.

Eureka is also spending a "considerable" amount of money on a television advertising campaign. The campaign is geared to a different demographic group than its traditional floor care market. It features commercials during sport shows, such as auto racing, and ESPN as well as regional spots.

"You have to advertise and we are focusing primarily on the television medium," said John Hoppe, vice president of marketing for Eureka. "We will continue to advertise through the fourth quarter."

"We are trying to bring footsteps into the store," Hoppe said. "Advertising is critical to what happens on the retail floor. Our job is to pre-sell the consumer before they come into the retail store."

"Advertising is a factor that will help fuel the category's growth," he added.

To date, the wet/dry category has been highly seasonal with huge peaks and valleys, Hoppe said. The pre-Christmas season is strong as well as the weeks before Father's Day.

"If advertising remains consistent, I think the business will flatten out throughout the year," Hoppe added. "Our intention is to advertise the product year round, but we have not yet determined our campaign for 1996."

Although Genie does not have any plans for a "big campaign" next year, Sandy Vandall, marketing manager for Genie, said the company is looking at a consumer advertising program that it touched on last year. "We ran spot advertising and print ads this year," she said.

Shop-Vac is also currently looking at its advertising program for next year. Last year, the company featured its wet/dry vacs in a national television campaign as well as some consumer print advertising. It has not yet determined its advertising plans for 1996.

Infomercials, which helped put extractors on the map for companies such as Bissell, are still being actively sought out as a way to educate consumers about extractors.

Jim Krzeminski, vice president of sales for Bissell, noted that the company's infomercials for its Big Green Clean Machine helped set the stage for its retail introduction. "They have run their course by now," he added.

This fall, Ryobi implemented its largest advertising campaign to date that includes national television advertising and consumer prints ads in national women's' magazines. The company kicked off its print campaign in early october in magazines such as Family Circle, Good Housekeeping and Southern Living. It plans to continue advertising in print through the first quarter and possibly into the second quarter.

In December, Ryobi will enter the infomercial market when its Singer Wipeout, a battery-powered cordless deep cleaner and smooth surface washer, will make its debut in that format.

Since only about 3 of every 10 consumers purchase products through the infomercial format, there is a great after-market at retail for those products. "Infomercials are as much advertising as they are sales," he said.

"I think infomercials serve a good purpose with information needed to educate consumer about the product, but it's not as needed in the wet/dry segment," said Rick Farone, director of product development and marketing for Royal. "You can educate the consumer through regular advertising."

Royal Appliance will be featuring a print and television advertising campaign in 1996, but details were not yet available.
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Title Annotation:Special Supplement: Extractors & Wet/Dry Vacuums; increased advertising
Author:Weiss, Lisa Casey
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Dec 11, 1995
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