Lennox International is rolling out a new campaign for its premium air conditioners, one it hopes reaches beyond the category clutter of energy savings.
For years, consumers have been focused on just two things -- reliability and comfort, Allen Evans, manager of advertising at Lennox, tells Marketing Daily. But between the recession, soaring energy costs, and consumer awareness of energy consumption, the last two years have changed all that, and just about every marketer and retailer is now touting the savings that come from more efficient units.
"Now, consumers are solely focused on the efficiency story, which had a big effect on what the creative for this campaign looked like. But we didn't want to get away from our brand's heritage of innovation -- we make the quietest air conditioner, for example. And we still wanted to include our character, Dave Lennox, who has really resonated with our customers since we began using him back in the 1980s. Consumers often say, in focus groups, 'Right, that's the brand with the guy in the overalls.'"
So the TV and prints ads, from GSDM Idea City, Austin, Tex., boost Lennox's premium positioning with cues from luxury automotive, jewelry and high-tech brands, occasionally polished by good old Dave. One called "Bloom," for example, showcases Lennox's innovation with SunSource, a solar-powered air conditioner.
The company hopes the sleek ads will help the brand stand out from the Energy Star chorus. "The trouble is, many consumers see this as a category where the main brands --Lennox, and such competitors as Train and Carrier -- are parity products," Ronnie Steck, GSDM account director, tells us.
"And it's also a low-involvement category. Unless you've got a unit that is about to fail or are building a new house, you're not paying attention," he says. "It is something that is hidden in your shrubs or up in your attic. It's a product with a cycle of about 15 years."
Ads are running on home improvement and decorating TV shows, and in shelter magazines, timed to boost sales during the industry's peak April-June period.
Last week, Lennox, based in Dallas, announced that revenues are up 11% in the first quarter to $644 million, with double-digit gains in the residential businesses, and raised its financial forecast for the rest of the year.