Euro-Pro Puts New Spin on Old Sweeper

Trying to build on its success in taking old concepts in household vacuuming and updating them with new technology, Euro-Pro Corp. is re-inventing the old carpet sweeper in its third and latest DRTV campaign.

A 30-minute show for the Shark Cordless Sweeper launched nationwide seven weeks ago and reached the top 10 in the Jordan Whitney Inc. infomercial rankings. The sweeper adds a battery-powered motor and new brush heads to the traditional non-electric carpet sweeper.

The Shark Cordless Sweeper can clean both carpet and hard surfaces, which is a key selling point, said Jeff Frankel, vice president of direct-to-consumer sales for Euro-Pro, Montreal.

“We felt there was a need for a product that lived up to its promises, that can work on hard surfaces so you don't need to use a broom,” he said. “We felt this was a good category to go after and re-invent it with new innovation.”

Euro-Pro's infomercial sells the Shark Cordless Sweeper as being as lightweight as a carpet sweeper while having the modern efficiency of an electric vacuum cleaner. In one demonstration in the infomercial, the show's hosts tie helium balloons to the sweeper and watch as it lifts off the ground, then try the same experiment on a lightweight vacuum, which doesn't budge.

Testimonials are used, including some from a resort hotel and a day-care center that tested the product, Frankel said. The infomercial offers the sweeper for $79.80. An extra battery is available as an upsell for $19.95.

Frankel declined to release U.S. sales information or the media budget for the campaign. The effort is focused on buying time in spot markets, he said, but the show has had success in national buys on cable, including CNBC and Pax.

Euro-Pro designed its media strategy not by demographic information but by how the show performed in tests, which ended Dec. 15. Sometimes, a media buy that defies common sense can be a moneymaker if the airtime cost is low because it cuts down on the cost per inquiry.

“I don't go by shooting for demographics,” Frankel said. “I let the media results tell me to book or not to book.”

Euro-Pro has begun to take the sweeper abroad. Sales began in Japan about a month before the U.S. infomercial finished testing.

Japan's “spring cleaning” season begins around the time of the Christmas season in the United States, so Euro-Pro's Japanese partner, Prime Shopping, couldn't wait, Frankel said. Prime developed its own five-minute infomercial, has sold 80,000 units since and just ordered another 20,000 units.

Euro-Pro plans to expand the Shark Cordless Sweeper into new territories, including Eastern Europe and Latin America. Also, a U.S. national retail rollout is in the works.

The company has used DRTV marketing since 2000 and successfully rolled out two other cleaning products via infomercial, including the Stick Shark and the Shark SteamBlaster.

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