VML Named Lead North American Agency for Electrolux, Frigidaire

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Electrolux laundry washer and dryer pair.
Electrolux laundry washer and dryer pair. Credit: Electrolux North America
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Electrolux has hired VML as its lead creative and digital agency in North America for its Electrolux and Frigidaire brands, following a competitive review. VML pulled together a team of sibling WPP shops to support the company across media, in-store and brand activation and PR.

The review, which was managed by The Burnett Collective, included brand advertising, digital, media, public relations, CRM and in-store marketing. Electrolux and The Burnett Collective initially looked at 14 different holding company models, which included 25 to 35 agencies. The finalists were WPP's VML, Stagwell Group's Code & Theory, MDC Partners' KBS and and IPG team led by The Martin Agency and Weber Shandwick, the incumbent PR agency.

As lead agency, VML pulled together a WPP team to support the business, such as Geometry for brand activation and in-store, MediaCom for media planning and buying and Cohn & Wolfe for PR. However, Jenn Leary, senior director brand and consumer experience at Electrolux, said VML has the ability to pull from other WPP agencies as needed.

DDB has handled Electrolux's North American major-appliances division's creative and digital duties for the past 10 years. Weber Shandwick has provided public relations support for Electrolux since 2004 and Zenith Media has handled the company's media strategy since 2014. The company also previously worked with WD Partners on in-store. Representatives from the former agency partners were not immediately available for comment.

One of the major attractions to VML during the review was "their ability to take a digitally oriented approach throughout the consumer lifecycle," said John Weinstock, senior VP-marketing for Electrolux North America.

"So much of what we're doing in marketing is digitally focused, and that area of digital and how it cuts across so many different areas of the consumer journey is so important. VML laid out strategies, programs and capabilities that really demonstrate [how you can reach] people thinking about buying appliances through points-of-purchase, then taking appliances home," he added.

Next year, Electrolux plans on increasing investment in its Frigidaire brands, and the strategy is a "digital-first approach, but it will cut across all elements of marketing," said Mr. Weinstock. He declined to disclose budget information around marketing for next year.

"From the agency standpoint, it's so refreshing and motivating to experience how Electrolux views agency partnership," said VML Global CEO Jon Cook via email, who added that the agency "felt unified with Electrolux" on their expectations of the impact an agency must make across all marketing touchpoints.

Mr. Weinstock said the agency review was about finding the right structure for its business. "Historically, we've had individual agencies with individual disciplines, and we wanted to take a fresh look at the agency model," he said.

The VML model, which moves away from silos, will allow Electrolux to "create consumer experiences that really transform the way we interact with consumers," said Ms. Leary.

Sales in 2015 for Electrolux reached $14.7 billion overall and $5.1 billion in North America. The group has 58,000 employees and sells more than 60 million products to customers in more than 150 markets each year.