Dirt Devil Taps DDB for Launch

A board member’s referral helped DDB Chicago land ad duties for Dirt Devil’s largest-ever product launch.

DDB’s campaign is set to break in September, said Deborah Holtkamp, Dirt Devil’s director of marketing communications. While billings were not disclosed, the subsidiary of Royal Appliance spent $25 million on ads last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting, and a major portion of its outlay this year is expected to back its yet-to-be unveiled line of vacuum cleaners.

“It’s a substantial investment that they are making for this national launch,” said Bob Klein, senior vice president and group account director at DDB.

DDB won the assignment following a review that included the Glenwillow, Ohio, company’s incumbent agency Wolf Group Cleveland. The project assignment does not affect Wolf’s status as Dirt Devil’s lead agency, Holtkamp said.

“While we are not at all unhappy with Wolf, DDB just had the consumer insight we were looking for,” Holtkamp said.

Wolf Group is now working on promotional ads for Dirt Devil’s current product lineup, said Jeff Weber, the agency’s president.

“We are obviously disappointed, but we continue to work on the brand,” Weber said of Dirt Devil’s decision to go with DDB. Meldrum & Fewsmith, which the Wolf Group acquired in 1997, picked up the account in 1995.

Dirt Devil was looking for an agency that could prepare a campaign quickly and take a fresh, compelling look at the category, Holtkamp said. DDB was invited to present strategic and creative ideas for the product launch at the suggestion of a Dirt Devil board member who knew DDB executives and was familiar with the agency’s work, Holtkamp said.

Details of the new product line were not revealed, although the advertising is expected to showcase the variety of the vacuum cleaners that will be part of the line.

DDB’s work will continue using the long-running tag, “Nothing escapes the power of a Dirt Devil,” Holtkamp said.

Dirt Devil’s most recent advertising from Wolf featured the Lego-like character Darren the Dirt Devil. Perhaps the company’s most memorable work, from Meldrum, had Fred Astaire dancing with a Dirt Devil vacuum.

Royal’s Dirt Devil is the No. 3 upright vacuum cleaner in the U.S., trailing Maytag’s Hoover and Electrolux’s Eureka brands, according to Hoover’s Online.