See the Spot: Maytag Man Heads to Factory for All-Star Game

Reincarnated Brand Icon Highlights 'Made in America' Status

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Maytag is breaking its 2015 campaign with a new 30-second ad Monday night, followed by 60-second version to air Tuesday during the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Fox, featuring the Maytag Man personifying the brand's new top-loading washer.

For the new spot, the Maytag Man leaves the home for a Marion, Ohio, factory, where he and his fellow CGI-enbabled "big beautiful monuments to dependability" are being assembled by real workers for the unit of Whirlpool Corp.

This kicks off the second year for a campaign from Digitas LBi, Chicago, which won Gold and Silver Effies last month. The ad coincides with Maytag promotions around the All-Star Game in Cincinnati and features workers from Maytag plants in nearby Ohio towns Marion, Findlay and Clyde.

That proximity that was part of the rationale for kicking off the ad in the game, said Brendan Bosch, senior brand manager for Maytag.

"Baseball is the American pastime and it's sport that's passed down for generation after generation," Mr. Bosch said. "Maytag as a brand has that same association of being an iconic American brand passed down from generation to generation."

Not to mention, "people get quite dirty when playing baseball," he said. Indeed, the laundry business has proved increasingly lucrative for MLB, which also counts Church & Dwight Co.'s Arm & Hammer and Oxi Clean as official sponsors for the All-Star Game and advertisers at several ballparks.

That includes Cincinnati's Great American, where the brands have stolen some of the spotlight from the hometown-based category leader, Procter & Gamble Co.'s Tide. P&G has sponsored a new scoreboard at the ballpark in time for the game, but Tide isn't among the sponsoring brands, having been trumped in that category by Church & Dwight.

The ad highlights Maytag's standing as being "designed, engineered and assembled in America."

"The made-in-America theme works for Maytag because "we feel that people care a lot more about where their products are made," Mr. Bosch said. Whirlpool, including Maytag, is the leading U.S. appliance maker, and its competition is primarily based overseas.

Another key rival, U.S.-based General Electric, is in the process of trying to sell its appliance business to Sweden's Electrolux, though the Justice Department earlier this month sued to block the deal, alleging it would lead to higher prices for kitchen appliances.

The Maytag Man, who's gone from last generation's sad, lonely and bored repairman to a new-age campy and earnest personification of dependable home appliances, has brought "a great lift in all of our brand metrics in the 2014 campaign," Mr. Bosch said, "so we're expecting to see a bigger lift from this campaign."

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