Advertising Age - HOOVER TO DYSON: IT’S ON NOW

Dyson and Hoover have been having a fight over who sucks more. That’s suck as in vacuum- and which one cleans your carpets better.

Hoover is the old business- been around forever. In fact, in Dyson’s home country, England, or the United Kingdom as the Brits like to refer to themselves, when you vacuum your floor- it’s called “hoovering”- so how could Hoover end up being threatened by this upstart, premium priced vacuum? Simple- it’s got nothing to do with who cleans better- it’s all about who understands marketing better. The winner is Dyson- hands down.

Both have worked with great ad agencies- Dyson was with Fallon before switching to Element79, Hoover is now with TBWA/Chiat/Day - so they are all obviously aware that advertising helps sell products that suck.

As an owner of several vacuum cleaners- and one and a half dogs that shed more than snow falls in the Rockies, I can tell you that if you emptied the bag as often as you emptied the Dyson canister- I’m sure you wouldn’t lose suction either. We empty the Dyson every time we vacuum- we empty the bag when it’s all the way full (which is about once every 10 times we vacuum). And, no, this isn’t scientific fact; it’s just a common sense observation.

A nice clean looking Dyson vacuumA Hoover VacuumThe reason Dyson is killing Hoover- and everyone else is design- pure and simple. They glamorized the lowly vacuum into a fashion accessory- and put a status price tag on their product. Hoover was still selling it as an appliance to hide in the closet. Just look at the product graphics on the two machines- Dyson hasn’t mucked their lines up with a million messages- your typical Hoover looks more like a NASCAR- with stickers everywhere.

Now- if you still don’t believe me- consider this. Up until about 2000 or so, Dyson licensed their same design to a US distributor- who had the product made in black with purple accents- it had a stupid name like “Phantom”- and looked like a NASCAR too- just like all the other machines- only it cost a bit more. It didn’t sell worth a crap. Then Dyson pulled the agreement, came to the US with their signature yellow and gray machine- with simple graphics, hiked the price, did classy ads- and now everybody wants one.

That’s proof- good design helps sell products that suck.

What do you think?