HOOVER ROLLS OUT SPORT UTILITY VACUUM

At $499, Most Expensive Ever for Marketer

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Stung by the tech pitch of Dyson, and faced with a flood of high end vacuums entering the market, the venerable Hoover brand is moving to retain its image as a category leader with a new premium device it’s positioning as a sport utility “vehicle.”
The new Hoover Z700 is the company's most expensive vacuum ever.
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$499 pricetag
The new model, the Hoover Z700 bagless upright, is dubbed “the world’s first sport utility vacuum” in a new ad campaign that describes it as able to handle terrains from floors to carpets. The vacuum actually comes in two models, the Z400 at $399 and the Z700 at $499. Prices are almost $100 or more higher than Hoover’s previously most expensive product, a $300 self-propelled vacuum. Dyson vacuums, by comparison, can carry list prices of more than $650.

Bill McLoughlin, executive editor at HomeWorld Business, said most vacuums sold today are in the $100 range, so consideration of a higher-priced appliance will involve the man in the household and be more of a family decision. “Anytime men are involved, the [price] goes up. Men are the toy buyers,” he said. “You can justify $400 when you are thinking ‘car.’”

Lori Miller, Hoover brand manager, said the campaign is not necessarily aimed at a male target. “We want to reinforce Hoover’s leadership and bring innovation” to the category, she said. Hoover’s research found consumers want an easier vacuum to handle while covering the multiple surfaces in today’s homes, she added. Among its features is a “Z-fold” design that allows the device to quickly convert from an upright vacuum to a canister style.

TBWA/Chiat Day
In the initial spot, the first from Hoover’s new agency, Omnicom Group’s TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., the vacuum is shown speeding over floors and carpets with the audio track of the roar of a racing car. The campaign will roll out through May and will include decidedly non-male targeted programs “Oprah” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The campaign includes a mini Web site which allows visitors to “test drive” the Z700 vacuum. Spending was not disclosed, but at the time TBWA won the account, it was estimated at $25 million.

Mr. McLoughlin noted that while Dyson once had the high-end to itself, competition has begun to intensify now that almost a half dozen new premium-priced vacuums have entered the marketplace within the last six months. Among them are cleaners from Panasonic, Bissell, and Electrolux.

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