Amana Goes After Champagne Tastes, Beer Budgets

guy writing on fridgeWhirlpool's Amana major appliance brand is in the midst of a makeover to reach consumers who want top-design appliances without paying top dollar. The new Amana mantra, "Affordable Design," is elaborated in such products as the new Amana Jot dry-erase refrigerator, which retails for around $550, and an entire stainless-steel kitchen suite for around $1,400.

For the laundry appliance segment, the company has a new front-load laundry pair and color top-mount refrigerators.

Audrey Reed-Granger, director of marketing/PR for the Benton Hills, Mich., company, says Whirlpool is trying to reach the savvy appliance buyer "who has come of age with Target and Ikea and knows it is possible to get really high design for an affordable price," she says.

Reed-Granger says Amana decided no other brand was doing that. "Within the industry there is no one is playing in this space, and while [Whirlpool] has a differentiated lineup, we have no other brand satisfying this."



The company headed in this direction after doing research that found a correlation in at least one respect between Gen Y and Baby Boomers. "They want well-designed, fun, practical, cool, smart products. When the research came back six months ago, a lot of people in the corporation were shaking their heads, saying this was a missed opportunity."

The company started shifting the brand image, creative look of point-of-purchase materials, literature and packaging this year.

"The look and feel of marketing matches the new consumer target," she says, adding that the efforts have been regional, grassroots and point of purchase thus far. She would not say whether the brand plans a national ad push to promote the new designs or support a new brand image.

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