Major floor-care manufacturers plan myriad multi-media promos

Major manufacturers in the floor-care industry have formulated a variety of approaches for their year-end promotions ranging from nothing beyond their usual programs to full-blown giveaways for consumers and dealers.

Unsurprisingly, many tools are being employed by the suppliers to stimulate sales in the fourth quarter. In addition to familiar television and radio spots, co-op advertising and catalog placements, the manufacturers are increasing in-store support and are handing out everything from plush toys to diamonds.

Some of these promotions already are underway. Others have been scheduled to take off shortly.

Relatively few among these campaigns have been specifically designed for holiday sales. Floor care historically has not been one of the preferred categories for year-end giftgiving. Nevertheless, some suppliers have recognized that handheld vacs and other portable units have their place among practical presents.

Further, industry shipment figures for full-size vacuum cleaners are moving at a record pace, with many manufacturers reporting their volume is at or near historic highs. If anything, that has stimulated these companies to push for expanded business.

Hoover has promised a record expenditure for television advertising in the final three months of the year, according to Jackson L. Wabschall, vice president of sales.

“We’re stepping up our activity on hand cleaners in the fourth quarter,” said the executive, adding that the company intended to take advantage of the smaller cleaners’ obvious potential as gift items.

Most of the television spots will feature the Brush-Vac and Dubl-Duty wet-dry models, but Wabschall said Hoover’s “traditional lines” of full-sized machines will not be ignored.

“The fourth quarter will be the largest expenditure The Hoover Co. has ever made in our history,” He continued. “We’re having a record year and we want to keep the momentum going.”

On the heels of its massive sale with K mart, the manufacturer is launching a Hoover Savings Game promotion this month. This effort is being executed through the company’s field organization, said Wabschall.

Support for the game includes spot radio and television, and of course in-store materials. “We fully integrate all of our promotions right through to the point of sale,” he noted.

Eureka Co., as it does every year, is building its ad schedule to a crescendo shortly before the holidays. The big manufacturer relies heavily on network and cable television to spread its message, but makes extensive use of other media as well.

“Our national effort starting in mid-September goes right through to the holiday,” related Richard Smith, Eureka’s advertising manager. “We try to support the retailer” by being visible when the greatest volume develops, he said.

Actually, most of the television spots are built into October and November.

“We think they get lost in the Stampede in December,” he pointed out. “Hopefully by the time the retailer is selling all those vacuum cleaners, we’ve gotten out message across.”

Eureka’s total expenditure for advertising in the last quarter is far more than 25 percent of its annual promotional budget, he reported.

In addition to its broadcast schedule, the company is quick to employ such other familiar tactics as point-of-purchase materials, co-op advertising and deals worked with specific retailers. Co-op ads are especially strong in December, noted Smith.

He insisted floor-care products do well as holiday gifts, and not only handheld models. “December certainly is one of the peak months” for sales of vacuum cleaners, he added.

Peter Elshout, director of home products at Black & Decker Corp., said the company has stepped up its program after this year’s introduction of the Power Pros, the upgraded versions of its Dustbusters.

“A lot of advertising is geared to the end of the year,” he said. “I think the total consumer impact will be a lot more than last year.”

Elshout emphasized that handheld cordless vacuum cleaners comprise a strong category for holiday gifts, and Black & Decker is taking “a multimedia approach to support” such sales. “We drive for it,” he said about the gift business.

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