KitchenAid fights competitors with 'maker' campaign

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Do you have well-worn knives, dough-covered hands or blisters? Then you have the marks of a maker, a cuisine-linked identity that KitchenAid is promoting in its first brand campaign, debuting Thursday.

"We've always recognized that KitchenAid was focused on a consumer who is unique," says Christina Hoskins, senior brand manager at KitchenAid, which is owned by Whirlpool. She notes that the kitchen brand has run product-focused campaigns in the past, including 2016's "Yours for the making," but that the new marketing push is a higher-level brand campaign for KitchenAid overall. "We spent several months learning more about the consumer we serve," she adds. "We recognize that cooking for them and being a baker, or a maker, in the kitchen is part of who they areā€”part of their identity."

Founded 99 years ago, KitchenAid celebrates its 100th anniversary next year. Yet unlike a century earlier, it is now battling a host of competitors in the kitchen, including startups like Misen, a Brooklyn-based brand that used crowdfunding to start its business, and established brands like LG and Samsung, which have expanded their digitally connected wares to include appliances such as refrigerators. Amazon is also entering the space and debuted its own Alexa-connected microwave oven, through its private label AmazonBasics brand, earlier this month.

Hoskins says that KitchenAid has an edge over such rivals because it caters to consumers who love to cook, rather than those who view it as a chore. Indeed, the 60-second anthem spot for the new campaign artistically illustrates baking, chopping and blending in a way that goes above and beyond your average parent dumping a box of mac and cheese onto the stove for family dinner. The campaign will appear in print and across digital and social outlets. In addition to the anthem spot, a dozen smaller clips will run.

While KitchenAid, which worked with long-time agencies Digitas and MSL on the campaign, did not specify the budget, Hoskins says it was a bigger investment than in recent years. In 2017, KitchenAid spent $9 million on measured media in the U.S., according to Kantar Media. Whirlpool does not break out sales for KitchenAid, but the parent company, which also owns Maytag and acquired recipe site Yummly last year, has seen sales grow steadily. The Benton Harbor, Michigan-based company reported sales of $21.3 billion last year, up 3 percent from 2016.

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