Facing a well-known dominant player in the category, robotic vacuum maker Neato Robotics engages in a bit of schadenfreude — in the form of a glitter-filled greeting card — to build its brand as a Roomba alternative.
“We’ve come into the market to shake things up a bit, with a product that’s more intelligent,” Nancy Nunziati, vice president of marketing at Neato, tells Marketing Daily. “We haven’t done much advertising up to this point, but we think this is [a good time] to show our robots are smarter, more functional and more powerful.”
To that end, the company has launched a humorous digital video campaign to make its point. The effort, from advertising agency Doner in Los Angeles, creates situations in which having a robotic vacuum can be a distinct advantage. One ad, for instance, depicts an elderly woman living alone. As heart-tugging music plays, the woman opens a card, presumably written and addressed by a child. The card, however, is filled with a massive amount glitter, which falls on the floor upon opening, leading the woman to utter an expletive. As the product rolls out of its charger, onscreen text reads, “Neato knows … messes happens,” and changes to “Neato knows … glitter ruins everything.”
Other videos depict an allergic man coming home to find a house sitter has brought her many, many cats along with her for the weekend, a woman waking up in bed after a night with a handsome (but very hairy stranger) and a woman cheating on her diet late at night, relying upon the vacuum to clean up the brownie crumbs she’s left behind.
“The ads [are supposed] to resonate and be fun,” Nunziati says. “[Roomba] had such a long lead on us. Up until recently, they’ve really defined the category.”
The campaign, which will run on websites such as ew.com and people.com, are intended to reach a “specific demographic” of well-educated, media savvy women. Though the ads to have a cross-gender appeal, Nunziati says.
“We set out to appeal to women, but when we show them to a mixed group, the men are laughing just as hard as the women,” she says.