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In a shift, Lowe’s targets men in ad

BY Ken Clark

An article in Tuesday’s New York Times reveals Lowe’s is making a shift in its approach to advertising by directly courting male DIYers.

The article, under the headline "Lowe’s Campaign Keeps Eye on the Weather," describes a 60-second TV spot planned for the upcoming college basketball tournament. In the ad, men pretend to compete in sports using hand tools and other home improvement merchandise. The ad aired Sunday during a Nascar race. 

Lowe’s is already one of the biggest brands on the Nascar track, as the retailer is the sponsor of superstar driver Jimmie Johnson. But the TV ads mark a new direction for the company’s advertising. 

The campaign, which is expected to run through June, also includes digital spots that will tailor the message to the specific weather conditions in various regions of the country.

Supporting the concept that the time is right to promote spending on the home, the article also pointed to research from the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) that forecast home improvement spending to increase 4.3% in 2013, after a 2012 increase of 5.4%. On a constant dollar basis, the 2013 growth would actually accelerate from 2.9% last year to 3.4% this year.

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Leviton grows its Evr-Green line

BY Ken Clark

Melville, N.Y.-based Leviton unveiled the latest entry to its Evr-Green line of residential, commercial and public electric vehicle charging systems, the Evr-Green 400 Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging Station.

The new device provides up to 40 amps of continuous power at 240 volts AC (9.6 kW output) and enables fast charging of any SAE J1772 compatible electric vehicle. The charging station is the industry’s first 40-amp version to meet and exceed UL, CSA and NEC electric vehicle charging station requirements, along with FCC Part 15 of the Federal Communications Commission for Residential Use. 

The next-generation Evr-Green 400 Charging Station — designed and engineered in the United States — features a modern design aesthetic with enhanced convenience features, such as an integrated connector dock, which simulates a gas station nozzle experience. The industry leading 25-ft. charging cable provides more flexibility for mounting locations. Including a three-year limited warranty, the charging station is ideal for residential or light commercial applications.

“The Evr-Green 400 Charging Station also enables customers to future-proof their space for charging for vehicles with larger on-board chargers,” said Michael Mattei, VP and general manager for Leviton Commercial and Industrial.

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Costa Farms adds Spanish to its marketing

BY Ken Clark

Miami-based Costa Farms hired Hispanic writer Andrés Fortuño as “the voice for Costa Farms’ new Facebook page, Costa Farms en Español.

The plan is for Fortuño speak to the growing number of Hispanics who love to garden, said the company, which describes itself as “the largest producer of indoor plants in North America.”

Fortuño will be “the voice” for Costa Farms’ new Facebook page. He will also help develop retail specific programs for the Hispanic market and conduct product knowledge classes in specific retailers in South Florida.

“We are taking an active role in our Hispanic efforts to reach this demographic, which has been growing steadily over the last few years,” says Jose Smith, president and CEO of Costa Farms. “Andrés will help us provide content in Spanish through our social media efforts and at the retail level.”

According to Facebook’s ad tool, 1.6 million users on Facebook are Spanish and 2.7 million have listed Spanish as one of their languages.

Fortuño has developed DIY gardening projects that have aired on Telemundo and Univision. He currently writes for About.com.

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