Emerson sees recession as 'opportune time'

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Emerson Electric Co., an engineering company with more than 60 business divisions, last week introduced a global ad campaign designed to show how it is providing innovative solutions in heating, power and energy efficiency. The integrated campaign, “It's Never Been Done Before,” is an extension of Emerson's “Consider It Solved” effort, which debuted in 2001. DDB Chicago developed the new campaign, which includes TV, radio, print, online and outdoor. The media budget for the first three months is $10.6 million. “Although we are in a difficult economic period, it is a great time to be able to move ahead competitively with our advertising,” said Kathy Button Bell, CMO of Emerson. “A recession is an opportune time for companies like ours to more tightly partner with customers to better help them prepare for the turnaround.” In addition, she said, “There is a little bit of responsibility we have as a healthy company in corporate America to put an optimistic face forward and begin the healing.” The campaign is aimed at the top 200 executives within the global Fortune 1,000 companies, including C-level executives, engineering leaders, procurement managers and other influencers. “The b-to-b world of decision-making is never a single person,” Button Bell said. “You need maybe five, 10 or 40 people within a company to help make big, expensive decisions.” Button Bell said that in developing the campaign, Emerson wanted to portray a fresh, clean look that would communicate an optimistic attitude. “We're trying to get away from traditional storytelling with actors on TV,” she said. “People don't have the patience for that right now.” So instead, Emerson and DDB came up with bold, iconic images, using vibrant colors and simple messaging to show how the company is solving global environmental problems with its innovative engineering solutions. The campaign kicked off with four TV spots: “Orange,” “Wood,” “Coal” and “Ice.” “Orange” shows a fresh orange slowly spinning against a white background as the peel spirals off, then morphs into a flash of light. Voice-over says, “Grind virtually any kind of food waste into an unending source of electrical power for a city? When Emerson takes up the challenge, "It's never been done before' simply becomes "Consider it solved.' ” The other spots are similar in look and feel. “Wood” features a wood chip, with voice-over saying, “Help create a commercially viable gasoline substitute from leftover wood waste, chips and bark?” Likewise, “Coal” and “Ice” feature, respectively, a piece of coal and a block of ice, and show through simple images how Emerson is solving problems in heating and cooling systems. The TV spots are running on such networks as Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Fox Business Channel, Fox News and the Golf Channel. The campaign also includes print ads in such publications as The Economist and The Wall Street Journal. Large diorama ads are on display in airports in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco, while radio spots are being heard on National Public Radio. The campaign also includes online ads, running on business Web sites such as BusinessWeek, Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal. All the ads drive users to different microsites, where they can get the full story about Emerson solutions. For example, at, users can learn how the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is using Emerson garbage disposals to convert food waste into electricity. The campaign is also running in China, Europe, India, Japan, the Middle East and South America. “We have shifted some of our media spending from the U.S. and western Europe into higher-growth markets,” Button Bell said, pointing specifically to such markets as Brazil, China, Mexico and the Middle East. Button Bell said the media mix varies by region. For example, “In emerging markets, you need to do more print than TV,” she said. M
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