BENTON HARBOR — More than a year after JennAir unveiled its new brand campaign at the Architectural Digest Design Show in New York City, the company and its marketing agency was recognized for their efforts.
Darkhorse, a bespoke agency comprised of Digitas and MSL, won gold in the home furnishings and appliances category at this year’s North American Effie Awards for the Bound By Nothing campaign.
The campaign was cited for its comprehensive marketing effort to launch the rebranding of JennAir – the luxury kitchen appliance brand under Whirlpool Corp.
“It’s one of the most prestigious awards,” said Jon Hall, brand and product marketing director for JennAir. “An Effie is about effective marketing. In many cases it’s a significant investment for shareholders to build equity behind a brand.”
In March 2018, JennAir released a new commercial, logo and watermark as part of a campaign that was dubbed Bound By Nothing.
The new logo put an emphasize on the “J” and removed the hyphen from the name. The commercial itself brought about several pieces of imagery that would normally be associated with high-class products such as Gucci.
The commercial can be viewed on YouTube and has a run time of 1 minute and 31 seconds.
“It was jarring as we wanted to get the consumer’s attention,” Hall said in an interview with The Herald-Palladium on Tuesday. “It’s a very proud moment for the company to see the product look so beautiful on screen. Many people in this (Southwest Michigan) community have been working hard on this product.”
Hall said it took two and a half years to create the new brand.
“The focal point of the campaign is the philosophy that JennAir operates under,” Hall said. “We wanted to awaken the expectations of the user experience, with more digitally progressive products.”
Hall said it was an honor just to be nominated, but it was “icing on the cake” to win gold in the company of several prominent brands such as Apple, Dove and Nike.
Using consumer research, Whirlpool officials said they noticed an empty space in the premium appliance category. Data across behavioral studies and macro trend analyses revealed the luxury audience to be an emerging growth consumer drawn to “strong leadership behaviors.”
JennAir dove into the metrics and chose to focus on that niche clientele – high-end, luxury appliances owners. Hall said their research revealed JennAir’s customer base was one that was built on extravagance and would spend “north of $50,000 on appliances.”
The multi-million dollar Bound By Nothing campaign and unveiling of more than 200 products marked the most significant investment in the JennAir brand since its acquisition by Whirlpool in 2006.
The reimagining of the JennAir brand was inspired by the origin story of the brand and its founder, Lou Jenn. Working as an air flow engineer, Jenn wanted to bring the outdoor cooking experience into the home and designed a cook system by using the smoke, fumes and grease.
Once regarded as a premium appliance pioneer, whose founder invented downdraft ventilation and subsequently was credited with the introduction of “open-concept” kitchen designs in the 1960s, by 2014, JennAir had fallen behind the competition.
“We did a massive overhaul, including the products themselves,” Hall said. “The launch of Bound By Nothing was an opportunity for us to show what we stand for, demonstrate what we want to be for the next couple of decades. We wanted to evolve the brand.”
While Darkhorse was the lead marketing and creative agency behind the campaign, St. Joseph-based Aisle Rocket Studios was there as a support with training and product positioning.
Hall said it is important that Whirlpool brands can focus on several target customers.
“In the next five to 10 years, we’re going to continue to stand for this idea of fearless progress,” Hall said. “The more successful we grow JennAir, the more it unlocks value for the organization.”
Contact: twittkowski@TheHP.com, 932-0358, Twitter: @TonyWittkowski