KitchenAid puts $50 mil at MacManus

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KitchenAid has consolidated its entire marketing account with MacManus Group, five months after combining its portable and major appliance divisions.

MacManus units DialogueWorks, New York, which already handled KitchenAid major appliances, and Clarion Marketing & Communications, New York, will be responsible for direct marketing and promotions.

The marketer also is doling out extra assignments to MacManus' N.W. Ayer & Partners, which already handles advertising and public relations. KitchenAid's total marketing budget with MacManus now doubles to more than $50 million annually.

In July, KitchenAid parent Whirlpool Corp. unified the brand's small and major appliance divisions under one roof. The move was implemented to increase efficiencies and present a more unified image.

ONE BUSINESS UNIT

"Whirlpool decided to take a much stronger stance toward branding," said Brian Maynard, KitchenAid brand director of integrated marketing. "So it made sense for us to become one business unit."

MacManus took KitchenAid's July consolidation as a cue, and presented a blueprint on how it could handle all the client's marketing needs.

With the account shifts, Axiom Communications, Baltimore; Beyond DDB, Chicago; Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich.; and J.G. Sullivan, South Bend, Ind., all fall off KitchenAid's roster. MacManus' MediaVest, New York, unit will continue to handle media planning and buying.

On the advertising front, Ayer currently is working on a unified branding campaign that will debut early in March. In addition, public relations and event marketing are a large part of KitchenAid's 2000 plans.

KitchenAid Brand Marketing Director Gretchen Jezerc said the company is honing in on a "home enthusiasts" segment. She said the target is "psychographic, not a demographic" and is "not defined by being female or the mother of X children."

"These are people who care very much about their homes," she said. "They can be male, female, young, old or in any income bracket."

CHEFS WHET APPETITE

KitchenAid's revamped marketing plan comes at a time when celebrity chefs such as Emeril Lagasse have heightened Americans' appetite for home cooking. "We now live in an era where a chef is like a rock star," Mr. Maynard said.

U.S. sales of home appliances also reflect the national interest in domestication. In 1991, 43.1 million major appliance units were shipped, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. That number rose to 56.6 million in 1998.

KitchenAid is experiencing strong sales, especially through upscale retailers. For the first 10 months of 1999, it dominated the standalone mixer market, with a dollar share of 83% and unit share of 57% via department stores, mass merchants and catalog showroom channels, according to home appliance tracking service NTD Intelect.

"Building on this growth, they have now expanded their presence in the small-appliance industry with introductions in blenders, food processors, toasters and, most recently, coffee makers," said Donna Wallace, a senior account manager at NTD Intelect. "Early indications are that they are having success in their new categories as well."

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