The spot, from W.W. Grainger Co., whose product line includes motors, tools, lights, sanitary supplies, heating and air conditioning equipment, asks, "Need stuff?"
"We've been spreading our print budget across [trade magazines] for a broad range of industries," said Wes Clark, group president, who noted that the company's 20,000 product range is so broad it is hard to target. "We may have been missing the point."
FOLLOWING FED-EX'S LEAD
So Grainger decided to take a page from such business giants as AT&T Corp., Xerox Corp., IBM Corp. and, particularly, Federal Express Corp., Mr. Clark said. Operating under the theory that purchasing executives are likely to watch football, Grainger decided to try to set itself apart from trade advertising clutter in print by testing TV.
"We think we have an opportunity to distance ourselves" from the competition, said Mr. Clark.
There are two 30-second commercials in the pool, with ads using the theme, "More ways to keep your business running right." DFM/Tatham, Chicago, a subsidiary of Euro RSCG Tatham, is the agency.
The budget for the campaign was not disclosed.
"We're selling speed and convenience, not just a hammer or a lightbulb," said Mr. Clark. "We wanted to . . . get across our brand name."
Grainger's research also showed the target audience-maintenance and repair foremen-are likely to watch sports, prompting the buy on "Monday Night Football" as well as other sporting events, such as NCAA basketball.
The test will run for five months, at which point Grainger will evaluate the results.
If positive, "you'll be seeing a whole lot more of us" on broadcast, said Mr.