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Attention Elevator Enthusiasts: Otis Wants You to Push Its Buttons

By Published on .

Otis is hoping to get some love in its elevator. The Farmington, Conn.-based company, which constructs and operates elevators and escalators, is rolling out its first brand campaign in 10 years. The new effort, "Made to Move You," which includes a 70-second video, billboards and a microsite, is meant to appeal to all levels of customers—architects and executives in the real estate community, as well as regular, upward-traveling consumers.

"The roles elevators play in people's everyday lives sometimes go unnoticed," said Tom Downie, VP-communications at Otis Elevator, which was founded by inventor Elisha Otis more than 160 years ago. The new work is "a rebranding and a digital transformation to help us humanize the Otis brand—it's about us personally connecting with customers and employees around the world," he said.

It's an uphill battle, though, as most people couldn't care less about their elevator brand. Otis, which is owned by United Technologies Corp., already commands a sizeable share of the $22 billion elevator industry—9%, according to market research firm Ibis World. But thanks to growth in key markets like China, more brands are joining the sector—meaning more competition for Otis and its key rivals, ThyssenKrupp AG and Kone Corp. In 2015, Otis posted $12 billion in revenue; it services 1.9 million elevators and escalators globally, and has installed one million more.

"The top companies in the industry make up less than one-third of industry revenue, indicating the majority of operators are small, local companies," read a recent Ibis report, which noted new industry entrants.

Otis' new video aims for a philosophical view—asking viewers about standing "among the giants to leave your mark on the world," and turning "an idea into an empire." Movement "can connect you to the destinations that matter and to the people that come along for the ride. At Otis, what moves us is moving you." The clip will be pushed out via social media and debut internally on Monday. Downie expects to add additional assets to the campaign, such as collaborations with elevator enthusiasts—yes, they exist and yes, they write letters to Otis PR—in the months ahead.

Otis tapped Iris as lead creative agency and began working with the company last year on research. The elevator company last had a branding campaign roughly a decade ago as an effort to communicate its sustainability to customers, Downie said.

Otis also works with Jacob Bailey in London and TVC Group in New York.

"Otis has influenced the urban landscape probably more than any other brand—but so few people have heard their story," said Evan Heigert, creative director at Iris Chicago. "With this brand refresh, we were able to reignite the bold, audacious spirit on which the company was built." Going up?

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