Maytag Is Out To Warm Up Its Image

Maytag

Maytag is introducing a new brand campaign that it hopes will warm up its old-reliable image, while at the same time building on its never-breaks-down brand equity.

The famed Maytag repairman gets a cameo in the TV spots, but the focus is now on the contents of the machine, themed "What's Inside Matters."

Ads show a family quilt being dragged from picnic to campout to station wagon to laundry room, or a rag doll getting roughed up at a tea party. "We wanted to shift the focus to the mundane urgencies that people connect with dependability," Jim Paul, VP/creative director for Arc Worldwide, the Leo Burnett agency that created the campaign for Maytag, tells Marketing Daily. "The ads emphasize not only the dependable parts Maytag puts in its machines, but the importance of the things people put inside as well."

The brand, which is more than 100 years old, built its reputation on that dependability, he says, long characterized by its lonely repairman. "We felt it was time to expand on the parts and pieces story, which is essentially very male, and warm it up -- to put a more relevant human spin on that dependability. It's been a masculine brand in a feminine category. And while we're not running away from the testosterone that comes from focusing on the reliability of the machine and its parts, we wanted to broaden it."

It's important to keep the repairman in the ads, he says, "but that role is an evolution. It's a great link to the brand, but we have a more disposable culture now, so he's less of a character."

Because appliance sales are closely linked to the real-estate market, the recession has been especially tough on the category. "There's a reason you didn't see these ads six months or a year ago -- we are starting to see some light ahead," he says.

The new campaign supports the Maytag Maxima, a front-loading laundry series introduced last fall, which it claims offers the best cleaning in the industry with its trademarked PowerWash cycle.

One spot has begun airing on network and cable, and the next will appear at the end of May. Paul says there is also a significant search component to the campaign, and that in the weeks ahead, it will also introduce a Facebook effort, which will urge people to nominate their most dependable friends.

Maytag, owned by Whirlpool, plans to extend the "What's Inside Matters" message to kitchen appliances later in the year.

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