GSD&M, Lennox Play It Cool—and Clean

DALLAS With air conditioner season fast approaching, major AC brands are pitching cleaner (not just cooler) air in their spring ad campaigns.

In an integrated effort breaking this week from Omnicom Group’s GSD&M, Lennox International depicts mold, fungus, bacteria and other airborne hazards as house guests wearing pastel Dr. Denton pajamas. Print and TV ads show the motley crew gathered around a family with a headline reading: “Are you living with bad air?”

Lennox spends about $10 million annually on ads, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Austin, Texas-based GSD&M has handled the account for 12 years.

Makers of heating and ventilation equipment have been tailoring their ads toward air quality for about the past five years due to increased concerns about mold and airborne substances. The air in a typical home is about four times dirtier than outside air, and a 1,500-square-foot home can produce up to 40 pounds of dust per year, according to industry estimates.

“Manufacturers are increasingly offering total air control systems, which allow consumers to cool the air to designated temperatures at specific times and filter it down to the micron level, then treat the incoming air with radiation,” according to analysts at the consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. “Bacteria, molds and other harmful particles are potentially rendered harmless with such treatment.”

At the Web site for Lennox rival Trane, consumers are provided with a series of stories and a quiz about air quality, asthma and air filtration systems.

Bob Kowynia, director of advertising and communications for Lennox in Dallas, said the new campaign would use print, TV and the first microsite for the company’s products.

A series of 15- and 30-second spots begin running this week mainly on cable networks and during breaks in some broadcast morning shows, Kowynia said.

The company also distributes the ads to vendors throughout the country who customize the spots and buy local broadcast time, Kowynia said.

Like other major brands, Lennox launches most of its ads in the spring and fall, mainly because mild months are the easiest for scheduling. During the summer, for example, crews sometimes work 18-hour days on repairs and installations, he said.

About 30 percent of Lennox’s units are installed in new homes, with 70 percent replacing older units, he said. Heating and air conditioning units typically last 15 to 20 years, he said.

Trane and Carrier both spent $15 million on national advertising in 2005, followed by York at $12 million.

Demand for heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment is forecast to increase 3.2 percent annually to $14 billion in 2009, according to industry studies.