Originally Published MX July/August 2003
Moving Consumers from Need to Want
Looking Ahead to Golden Years
Celebrity spokespersons have long been used to promote everything
from athletic equipment and soft drinks to motor oil and lately even
pharmaceuticals, but home medical equipment? C'mon.
"We know the general public's awareness level of our industry
and its products is very low," says Invacare's senior vice president of
sales and marketing, Lou Slangen. "When people even think of our
products, they are viewed as things that are acquired only when
absolutely necessary. We signed Arnold Palmer to help us begin to
change that perception."
|Invacare spokesman Arnold Palmer.|
Invacare doesn't use DTC marketing for standard equipment like
homecare beds and walkers, or for highly customized products like rehab
wheelchairs, although there is a halo effect. But for certain product
categories, DTC makes a lot of sense. For example, says Slangen, a
number of people over age 65 have disabilities that limit their
physical mobility. These individuals could really benefit from a power
chair or motorized scooter, but they have a certain image of
wheelchairs that keeps them from acting on that need.
A print and TV advertising campaign featuring Palmer helped
produce a 20% increase in sales of Invacare consumer power products in
markets where the TV spots ran. Now Invacare is about to launch a new
Palmer print and TV campaign for its innovative HomeFill II home oxygen
system. The HomeFill II is another natural for DTC marketing because
it's a new concept in the category—users make their own oxygen at home
and fill their own lightweight oxygen cylinders. This campaign is
currently running in selected markets and generating a strong response,
according to Slangen.
"Arnold Palmer is helping us create a sense of want for a more
active lifestyle," says Slangen. "I want to go to the mall with my
grandkids. I want to see them play in the park. I want that
sharp-looking, candy-red Invacare power wheelchair."
Copyright ©2003 MX