Hoover Conquers All Indoor Terrain

LOS ANGELES Hoover’s first campaign with its new agency, Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day, will launch nationally on Feb. 27, said the brand manager.

Lori Miller said a 30-second television commercial that broke last week regionally would go national, along with two additional unseen 15-second spots. All three ads treat the Z700 vacuum as a rugged vehicle in the home and use the voiceover tagline, “The world’s first sport utility vacuum.”

“The Z700 is a fully integrated campaign, with a micro-site designed by [Omnicom’s] Tequila,” said Miller. Ethnographic consumer research led to ads “that reposition vacuuming from a chore to a reward. You see how the Z700 conquers the terrain of the home,” she said.

Creative director John Payne worked with Gage Clegg (copy) and Becca Morton (art) at the Playa del Rey, Calif., agency. “The idea of the ‘sport utility vacuum’ really came from a strategic place,” Payne said. “It can handle all these terrains.”

In “SUV,” a rug-level shot of a white horizon starts the automotive ad parody. “We were trying to get that salt-flat whiteout look of SUV commercials,” said Payne. “Instead of gorgeous vistas you see a living room; instead of an SUV, the vacuum performs,” jumping in the air, as if over a ramp, and racing along the ground.

In the 15-second “Touch,” push-button control enables the vacuum to command various surfaces as an insert shot shows the self-cleaning filter whirring like an engine. In “Hose,” a handy attachment of the high-tech vacuum allows a woman to leap enthusiastically up the stairs to her chores.

The agency hired veteran car-commercial director Eric Saarinen of Plum Productions in Santa Monica, Calif., to shoot the spot. “He brought all his tricks indoors,” said Payne. “It was funny to see his R-1 rig [for shooting car spots] attached to a vacuum instead of a fender.”

Saarinen, a descendant of the legendary Finnish-born designer Eero Saarinen, even offered his own well-furnished living room for the shoot, Payne said.

“We will try to focus our efforts on a dynamic campaign,” said Miller. “We want to get our momentum on TV, and with interactive and PR using test-drive and street sign analogies.”

Miller would not disclose campaign spending, but promised “high support, more than the last couple of years” for the new product, particularly in the first half of the year.

Hoover of North Canton, Ohio, spent $45 million on advertising in 2004 and more than $30 million in 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.