‘Whirlpool….whirlpooool..would be lying if I say that I didn’t hum the tune while writing this. The Whirlpool India advertising journey has been all things ‘cool’ through the decades of it’s existence and we couldn’t help but dive into the brand’s marketing tales to make refrigerators and air conditioners an inherent commodity for Indians.
It’s 33°C outside as we sip innumerable amounts of cold water and chilled juices for some respite from the scorching heat while the air conditioner blows frosty air. Certain data dated to 2018 suggests that one in three Indian households own refrigerator and a fifth own an AC or cooler. While all this is no short of a privilege, there are brands who have strived for years to manufacture quality and affordable home appliances like the ones mentioned prior. One of such brands is Whirlpool who claims to have been a pioneer in the consumer durables category. We unravel the Whirlpool India advertising journey this week, focusing on its marketing nama for its range of refrigerators and Air conditioners, because that’s what we can think is the need of the hour, tbh.
From Whirpool to Whirlpool of India
Whirlpool from the Whirlpool Corporation, in 1955 acquired Seeger Refrigerator Company and RCA’s air conditioner and cooking range lines globally. In the consecutive year Whirlpool dropped the RCA name, resulting into just Whirlpool as the brand name.
Whirlpool entered the Indian market in the late 1980s as part of its global expansion strategy and launched a joint venture with the TVS Group to establish the first Whirlpool manufacturing facility in Pondicherry, where it manufactured washing machines.
In 1995, Whirlpool acquired Kelvinator India Limited, marking its foray into the refrigerator market. In the same year, it acquired major shares in TVS joint venture, and in 1996, the Kelvinator and TVS acquisitions were merged to create Whirlpool of India Limited. The merger led the company expanding its portfolio in the Indian subcontinent which included washing machines, refrigerators, microwave ovens, and air conditioners.
Whirlpool of India Limited is headquartered in Gurgaon, and it owns three manufacturing facilities at Faridabad, Puducherry and Pune. The company has committed to providing its consumer with forward looking solutions. The commitment can be reflected in the Whirlpool India advertising journey too. Lets take a peak-a-boo.
Whirlpool India advertising journey (of refrigerators and air conditioners)
In the West, when Whirpool started distributing its active range of refrigerators and other home appliances, it went live with taglines like ‘Quality, our way of life’ and ‘We believe quality can be beautiful’ as print advertisements.
With advancements in technology and product innovation, the company’s core messaging focused on how it takes utmost care in maintaining the quality of its appliances and never compromises in any situation if a crisis like inflation hits the door.
In yet another magazine ad, the brand introduced its consumers to a new set of refrigerators designed with textured steel doors that help hide fingerprints in 1979 sensing the need gap since the 70s refrigerator technology was not sufficiently fingerprint-resistant.
Taking forward its legacy of ‘quality on the Indian shores, Whirlpool of India was ranked amongst the Top 75 brands in India in the BrandZ™ India Rankings for 2020 and was also bestowed with the honor of ‘Superbrands’ in 2019 for their refrigerators and washing machines range of appliances. According to the company, ranking in the prestigious list is a testament of Whirlpool’s constant endeavors to provide technologically advanced and meaningful offerings to its consumers.
Through innovations and technological upgrades at every level, Whirlpool prioritized advertising and marketing budgets to promote its entry level category of refrigerators and Air conditioners for the Indian market late 90s onwards.
Since its inception, Whirlpool has perpetually maintained an omnipresent marketing strategy where it has explored and experimented with a 360 degree communication across print, radio, TV, outdoor and digital. The messages were created being largely product-centric and educating the consumers on the product-prowess and how to aptly utilize them to the core.
Taking cues form the popular Hindi dramas of the 90s, the Whirlpool India advertising journey revolved around featuring the soap queens in the television campaigns as they garnered huge eyeballs from the metro familiar set ups.
For the Whirlpool quick chill – frost free refrigerators, actresses like Achint Kaur were seen dancing to the tunes of ‘Ice Ice Baby’ track especially created for the ad film.
A 2002 TVC portrays a direct communication about the window ACs manufactured by Whirlpool under significant supervision and asked consumers to celebrate the magic of winter in summer.
In India the brand targeted the ladies of the house with its range of 6th sense technology led refrigerators or ACs in the early 2000s entitling them as the best homemakers along with Whirpool.
Keeping up with some melodious soundtracks for each of their ad films, the whirlpool surprise party commercial promoting the ‘fast forward’ freezing of ice in a short span of time, created a sense of relatibility among the consumers about how we find little joys in surprising our loved ones while also keeping the product integration intact sharp.
The commercials were shot in a family set up showcasing how the summer time demands for chilled dishes and breathing cold air that could only be possible with refrigerators and ACs at home.
The woman of the family is supposed to be the encyclopedia and is also featured as the one who can make the family drool over the new range of Whirlpool home appliances for its cool features.At this time, the brand worked with Amrita Saluja as ”Whirlpool Mom” in its celebrated ads with punch line “Mummy ka magic chalega kya”.
At the very core of Whirlpool’s bond with consumers, stands its brand vision, Creating Happier Homes. The brand claims to constantly strive to make moments in the consumers’ everyday home life more enjoyable through it’s products, so that these moments lead to a lifetime of joyful experiences.
Draftfcb Ulka (now FCB Ulka) handled Whirlpool’s creative mandate for many years and has conceptualised excellent communication inventory for its product portfolio including washing machines, refrigerators, air conditioners and microwaves. The agency has been touted to have played a significant role in establishing the multinational brand in the desi Indian market while researching and adopting various means to adapt to the Indian consumer’s needs and wants.
The company believes in the glory of making everyday count just the way every homemaker does and that delight lies in getting the everyday tasks done beyond ones expectations.
Romancing print, offers, discounts and giveaways
While the brand bet big on investing huge sums of money in TV and print advertising, initially it seemed fit to priorities newspapers as it did not entail any high-end products to promote in magazines. Later when the company started manufacturing premium appliances, it eyed on luxury magazine readers as its target audience and advertised its range of premium frost free refrigerators such as Neo I-Chill and Proton Wold Series and 6th sense technology Air conditioners massively in magazines.
Print advertising has been a vital part of the Whirlpool advertising journey since its launch as the brand vouched for offers and discounts and went the print way to announce them as a part of its mass advertising strategy. During the festive season, the advertising on print and TV was offer-led and talked about the gifts and discounts across the range.
North India being one of the key markets for the brand, also experimented with regional newspapers to reach out to the hinterlands of the country and spread awareness around its affordable set of product ranges in the nook and corner of India.
The year 2011 saw the brand rolling out ‘Sab Ka Jashn Sab Ki Jeet’ campaign that offered an assured gift on every purchase followed by the ‘A Kitchen In Your Honour’ campaign the next year wherein the consumers were gratified with scratch card and gifts on every purchase.
Yet another campaign, ‘Whirlpool Makes You Look Good’ was conceptualized in September 2013 as part of the brand’s festival promotion strategy to help the home-maker create magic every time she brought a Whirlpool product home.
Whirlpool’s Bollywood & Sports Connection
After featuring some of the poplar faces from the TV industry, Whirlpool shifted its focus on Bollywood and on-boarded one of the ‘IT’ couples- Ajay Devgan and Kajol as their brand ambassadors as the company witnessed a major shift in it’s advertising strategy. The company has laid out aggressive plans to launch new products in air-conditioners and microwaves categories this season.
In an official statement to PTI, the brand had stated that it was the first time Whirlpool India went the celebrity couple way because we thought that Kajol was the perfect example of an achiever, both at home and work. And it also acknowledges the fact that males play a crucial role in the purchase decision of appliances and Ajay was the man of substance
“(The two are) an ideal celebrity couple to take forward the Whirlpool ethos of being partners to homemakers,” added Mediratta. Whirlpool will spend Rs 45-50 crore on advertising and promotions this year. With Devgan and Kajol, we are looking at new scripts and the first TV ads should be on air by the end of March,” said Arvind Mediratta, (then Vice President, Marketing, Whirlpool).
The brand also decided to continue its association with its advertising agency FCB Ulka to which it credited the higher than its Korean competitors’ brand recall value, simultaneously bringing on board Contact Advertising in January 2008, the team brought on board Contract Advertising. Both the agencies shared the creative mandate for the brand, while Lodestar Universal helmed its media duties for a long period of time.
With Kajol and Ajay Devgan, the company leveraged their mass popularity and reach within on ground events and product launch promotions as the dup continued to create magic with their cheeky and quirky happenstance with TVCs for Whirpool refrigerators and ACs.
The ‘#SensingYourWorld’ campaign with the celebs conducted to listening to their consumers to promote the intuitive nature of its premium appliances. It reinvented the “Goddess” that had become synonyms with the brand and is shown presenting a symbol of 6th Sense Technology, which allows its premium appliances to sense, anticipate and connect to consumer’s lives for providing them the freedom to focus on the things that matter to them most.
The celebrity couple formed a major part of the Whirlpool advertising journey and were featured across television channels, radio, newspapers, hoardings, magazines and even on the vehicles in Tier 2& 3 cities promoting the brand and gave it the push that the brand needed against its competitors including the likes of LG and Samsung.
In 2012, Whirlpool was bit by the IPL bug and became the official cooling partner for Kings XI Punjab and launched a campaign with its former captain Yuvraj Singh and Kirron Kher for its refrigerators in true Punjabi style.
The Whirlpool brand in India has been committed to making home appliances with advanced and intuitive technology and a brand vision that drives us to create a strong bond with all its consumers complemented by the icy yet heartwarming ‘Whirlpool India advertising journey’.
Stay tuned as we explore the brand’s product marketing stints, take on digital and tales of creating ever-lasting bond with new brand identity in the coming week.