Whirlpool Turns Up the Heat

U.S. Appliance Giant Steps up Marketing, Breaks First TV Spot in China

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SHANGHAI (AdAgeChina.com) -- With global sales slowing down, Whirlpool Corp. is stepping up its marketing in China, a market that is still small for the home appliance maker but, unlike the rest of the world, growing at 40% a year.

Until now, Whirlpool has done mostly point-of-sale marketing in China. After revamping sales, distribution, and product line-up, Whirlpool is breaking its first TV spot, by Publicis Worldwide in Shanghai, for the Vari washing machine.

Antoine Bourdeix, Shanghai-based chief representative of Publicis Consultants in China, says Whirlpool's Vari machine "proves to consumers that they can have the best of both worlds, offering anti twist, and better cleaning with far less stress to garment fibers."

The spot, filmed under water, features two dancers performing in long dresses that float gracefully and in streams of water to illustrate the machine's anti-twist shaft.

The decision to increase its marketing presence outside of retail stores follows two years of investment in "getting some fundamentals right on the sales operations side, getting salespeople well-trained to answer consumers' questions better, getting distribution right and changing the lineup for the washing machine product line," said Myles Zhong, General Manager of Whirlpool China.

"Globally, the whole market is slowing down, but we've had rapid growth in China to this stage. Now we want to build the brand to the next level to grow further. The TV spot is only one of the ways we want to reach consumers outside stores," Mr. Zhong said.

Whirlpool's first major ad campaign in China was created by Publicis, Shanghai
Whirlpool's first major ad campaign in China was created by Publicis, Shanghai
Although Whirlpool's sales grew over 40% last year and and during the first half of this year, largely from sales in China's first and second tier cities, the company's business in China is still relatively small.

"China is not a top market in sales," Mr. Zhong said, but "in terms of priorities, the global market is shrinking but China will grow for the next few years and even the next several decades. So the China market is extremely important for us."


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