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Advertiser Interview

How do you create emotive adverts for home appliances?

Our whole life plays out in the fridge.

Washing machines, fridges, vacuum cleaners – these are everyday products with few differences. How can you create interesting, innovative, emotive advertising for home appliances? We asked Alexander Schill, CEO of the advertising agency Serviceplan and one of the most creative minds in Germany.

How do you advertise home appliances? With home appliances – as is the case with most products – the features are probably less important than the brand. To be honest, I don’t know the technical data of my own refrigerator either – but that is not crucial to the purchase decision for me. I know just as little about the leg room on Lufthansa or Air Berlin airplanes, or the size of my car’s trunk.

Alex_Benne_Ochs Alexander Schill ©Benne Ochs
And yet, companies keep trying to use this type of information to advertise their product. It is really the brand that is most important, and of course, this means enormous opportunities for home appliances, since we use them constantly in our everyday life.

So – less technology and more feeling? Exactly. Baking with my children is one of the most sentimental things I can think of. When the food processor, or even the refrigerator become part of this moment, it gains emotional weight that I can use to the benefit of the brand.

In your opinion, are there gender differences when it comes to purchasing decisions for home appliances? I don’t think so. In the end, you decide on a brand and the good feeling you get from having this brand in your house. You open the door to the fridge and feel good about having made the right decision.

What role do comparison portals play? They mostly come into play once the purchase decision has already been made. This is the stage when you are looking for the best price – but initially, that is irrelevant in advertising the product. You must first of all create a desire for the brand, not for individual products such as refrigerators or ovens; when a consumer is building a new kitchen or looking to buy new appliances for their kitchen, this is already established.

"In the end, you decide on a brand and the good feeling you get from having this brand in your house."

How do you advertise a brand? You connect it with the emotional moment that the product creates. And that’s where I see so many points of reference, especially in the kitchen, which acts as a central hub for the family. How many times a day do we go to the refrigerator? It is a fundamental part of our lives. What feelings do people have when they go to the refrigerator? This is what it is all about, much more than the number of shelves you get. If we can communicate that the brand understands this emotional moment in someone's life, then we are right on the money with our advertising.

What role does quality play? This is something we take for granted in higher-priced products. It is clear to the consumer that it's hard to go wrong in terms of quality when you buy a Bosch or Siemens washing machine. You don’t need to push this in everyday sales communication. If the brand conveys a good feeling, then the consumer automatically assumes that it is technically perfect.

From your point of view, is there a difference in the difficulty of advertising different appliance classes, such as a fridge and a stove, or a blender and a hand mixer? The more specific it is, the more difficult it becomes. A juicer, for instance, has only a single purpose and is therefore one-dimensional. A fridge, on the other hand, may become the center of an entire family history, making it more interesting from an advertising point of view. If you look at its contents, you can learn a lot about its owner – ten thousand images come to mind immediately for me. Our entire life plays out in the fridge! It can be a reflection of ourselves.

What do you think of the trend for networking that is becoming more and more evident with kitchen appliances too? I think we should wait and see whether everything really needs to be networked. Do I want my coffee machine to greet me by name in the morning? Do I need my fridge to order groceries when it is empty? The only criterion is what really helps consumers and can make their lives easier, not what is technically possible. In my opinion, this is where we should make a very distinct differentiation.

How do you function as a creative person? I live a completely normal life. I drive a car, take the subway or bus, observe people and their behavior and try to understand them and their feelings. To me, this is initially more important than understanding products. I consciously prepare very little for my first client meeting, so that I can maintain an unobstructed view of the assignment. Only then do I get started on the details – creativity needs wings to fly, but also landing gear to get safely back on the ground.

Interview: Wolf-Christian Fink

Top photo: ©BSH Hausgeräte GmbH

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