ELECTROLUX TO EVALUATE 'MARKET POTENTIAL'

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Electrolux wants to know what people think of its 75-year-old brand, and is soliciting help to find out.

The vacuum-cleaner marketer sent requests for proposals to consultants and ad agencies to assist it in plotting its next move.

Electrolux, which has relied solely on its estimated 5,000-person field sales force to spread its message, is seeking "competitive proposals for an engagement to evaluate the market potential for Electrolux products, including customer segmentation, competitive position and channel development," according to the RFP, a copy of which was obtained by Advertising Age.

Steve Timmerman, VP-marketing for Electrolux, confirmed that the company is exploring its options, but stressed it is not conducting an ad agency review.

He characterized the project as "more of an audit on the brand to better understand it and to create possible future opportunities."

A CLOSED AUDIT

Mr. Timmerman said the process is already under way and closed to any agency or consultant not already contacted.

He also said the results from the search "may or may not include advertising." Only one line in the RFP mentions advertising, at the end of the project description: "Conclusions and recommendations for creative promotion vehicles such as advertising are also important."

Those shops contacted were asked to confirm interest in the project by June 4 and turn in final proposals by June 11. A shortlist of candidates will be interviewed in mid-June, with a decision by June 18, according to the RFP.

Electrolux has had a bumpy history during the past 15 years. Sara Lee Corp. sold the company in a management buyout in 1987, but reacquired it in 1990. The current owner, investment group Engles Urso Follmer, bought Electrolux from Sara

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