Cabinet Maker Goes After Renovators -- and Hopes to Build Brand Awareness

KraftMaid and New Shop Olson Kick Off Campaign as Housing Market Faces Uphill Battle

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As the housing market and advertising in the real-estate industry overall still face an uphill battle, high-end semi-custom cabinet maker KraftMaid is launching a campaign next week in an effort to appeal to consumers who are looking to renovate their homes.

An integrated campaign includes a print push.
An integrated campaign includes a print push.

"When we looked at what was happening in the cabinet industry, we noticed that there's very low brand salience," said Theresa Junkunc, brand marketing director at KraftMaid. "Most people can't even name the cabinet maker. We wanted to create a strong brand campaign, so that when people think of cabinets they think of us."

KraftMaid, which is under the Masco Corp. umbrella, along with Delta Faucet Co. and Griffin Windows, among others, is hoping to create brand awareness among would-be renovators, which account for about 80% of its business (the other 20% comes from new construction).

The National Association of Home Builders predicted "decent growth" for the renovation industry in 2011, according to the association's National Outlook report. And according to KraftMaid, kitchens and baths continue to top the list of rooms current homeowners and potential buyers most want to update.

"People are coming back into a new era of responsibility," said Ed Dziedzic, account director at Minneapolis-based independent ad agency Olson. "It used to be about remodeling with the idea of maybe relocating, but now more people are staying put. People are remodeling, but they're remodeling for themselves, not for resale."

The campaign is the first for the brand by Olson, which won the business in late 2009 after Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett and KraftMaid parted ways. The integrated campaign includes a substantial in-store push at retailers such as Home Depot and Lowe's; print ads in Elle Decor, Traditional Home and House Beautiful; sponsorships with House Beautiful, HGTV, Luxe magazine and Elle Decor; and TV, mobile and web initiatives. KraftMaid has also worked with ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" through all eight of its seasons as the exclusive cabinetry provider.

Mr. Dziedzic referenced a statistic from a recent Ad Age Insights white paper on baby boomers: According to GfK MRI's Fall 2010 Survey of the American Consumer, 13% of boomers said it was likely or very likely they would remodel their kitchens in the next 12 months. The NPD Group said boomers in 2010 accounted for 44.6% of unit sales in major kitchen appliances, up from 42% in 2009. And the demographic is the single largest group buying those appliances.

The campaign signals a major increase in marketing activity. KraftMaid had slashed its measured-media spending by almost half in 2010, down to $3.3 million, according to WPP's Kantar. It spent about $6.6 million in 2009 and $6.9 million in 2008.

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