DIRT DEVIL EXPANDS WITH RUG CLEANER SPRAY: ROYAL APPLIANCE TO SKIP ADS, RELY ON BRAND EQUITY

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Royal Appliance Co., marketer of Dirt Devil vacuums, is attempting to enter a completely new but related market-carpet cleaner sprays.

And it's doing so without advertising.

The company's move into the $413 million spray carpet cleaner category comes as other players are stepping up their marketing outlays. Reckitt & Colman, for instance, is restaging its Resolve brand, the No. 1 spray cleaner.

Royal is testing its Dirt Devil Carpet Stain Remover in Wal-Mart stores, with the goal of determining whether the brand can succeed merely on the strength of the brand name's existing equity, said Jim Holcomb, VP-marketing and strategic planning.

Meldrum & Fewsmith Communications, Cleveland, is the agency for Dirt Devil vacuum cleaners, known recently for TV advertising that revived film footage of the late Fred Astaire showing him dancing with a Dirt Devil.

BIG AD SUPPORT FOR RIVALS

Others in the carpet cleaner category, however, have concluded that ad support is crucial.

Reckitt & Colman hit the market with its new Resolve with improved stain-proofing last month. A new version specifically formulated for pet stains was added to the lineup as well.

The marketer is supporting its new effort with an estimated $8 million to $10 million TV and print campaign from Warwick Baker O'Neill, New York.

Last spring, Clorox Co. launched its first carpet cleaner, Formula 409 Carpet Cleaner, with an estimated $10 million campaign from DDB Needham Worldwide, San Francisco (AA, March 10).

Sales of carpet cleaners and deodorizers were down 2.9% for the 52 weeks ended July 20, according to Information Resources Inc. Resolve's sales were off 2.5%,

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