Cooking at the Speed of Life with Advantium Ovens
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
CEO

Cooking at the Speed of Life with Advantium Ovens

In the summer of 1998, GE perfected a revolutionary cooking process that used halogen lights and microwaves to cook oven-quality meals up to eight times faster than a conventional oven.

Paul Holmes

GE Appliances and Weber Shandwick Worldwide created and executed a communications strategy to promote the continuing evolution of the Advantium Oven series.  Since its initial launch in 1999, the product has introduced multiple configurations (i.e., wall units, 120-volt Advantium) allowing a variety of installation possibilities reinforcing GE’s commitment to the Speedcook category.
 
CHALLENGES/OPPORTUNITIES
 
Over the last six years, GE and other major appliance manufacturers have been in a race to develop new technologies that make ovens cook faster.  In the summer of 1998, GE perfected a revolutionary cooking process that used halogen lights and microwaves to cook oven-quality meals up to eight times faster than a conventional oven.  GE’s major competitor, Maytag, was poised to introduce its own hot-air, rapid cook oven at the National Association of Home Builders Show in early 1999.  GE charged Weber Shandwick with planning and executing a national launch of its product before any rival could come to market.
 
The GE Advantium Oven with Speedcook technology was the most revolutionary kitchen appliance on the market in more than 25 years.  Not since the introduction of the microwave oven have consumers had a product that would help to keep up with demands of their busy lifestyles.  GE Appliances and Weber Shandwick faced the challenge of establishing Advantium as the leader in the Speedcook category by using the superiority of light-cooking technology.
 
RESEARCH
After reviewing all pertinent information and research regarding consumer and customer targets with the GE team, Weber Shandwick developed a public relations plan that would target all audiences.  Media lists, both trade and consumer, were developed utilizing industry software.  Programs and events were designed as part of the plan to ensure the delivery of new technology messages.
 
STRATEGIC APPROACH
 
The strategy behind this successful launch has been to position GE as the owner of the Speedcook category by:
  • Generating media awareness for the Advantium Oven
  • Expanding interest and demand for GE Speedcook technology
  • Spike media activities around key selling points of Advantium – a reliable product, eight times faster than a conventional oven, saves time and money while producing delicious food
 

EXECUTION

 
The launch of the Advantium Oven series has continued to evolve over the last two years, demonstrating GE’s commitment to the Speedcook category.  With every new configuration introduction, the goal has been to disseminate the message to multiple audiences: consumers, trade and consumer media, national television and print media, influencers/endorsers, GEA retailers, builders/remodelers, interior designers and kitchen designers.
 
This was accomplished through print and electronic media relations (trade and consumer), events/trade shows, Internet strategies and working with the analyst community.
 
Launch tactics developed and executed in 1999-2000 by Weber Shandwick Worldwide:
  • National Association of Home Builders – Dallas, Texas 1999
  • Advantium introduced to 15 top trade and consumer media at elegant preview dinner and presentation
  • Breakfast/booth presentation during second day of show for other media
  • Multi-media presentation, using video and PowerPoint, produced for 1,200 select homebuilders
  • Live demonstrations throughout convention provided Advantium-prepared appetizers for 70,000 attendees
 

Media Event – New York

  • Event held in Equitable Building for trade and consumer media not in attendance at NAHB Show
  • Event used as pre-emptive strike to get in front of media prior to Kitchen & Bath Show where competition rumored to participate
  • Kitchen and Bath Industry Show – Orlando, Florida
  • In-booth media tours/demonstrations
  • Broadcast appearances
  • Advantium Oven placed in New Product Pavilion at show, received award for one of best new products
  • Dinner and presentation for 40 trade and consumer media at Emerils
 

Consumer Launch Plan

  • VNR produced and distributed as part of national media campaign
  • Use and Care videos produced for distribution with each Advantium Oven at time of purchase
 

Analyst Meeting – New York

  • Highlight GE’s innovative new technology for over 40 analysts
  • Utilize Metropolitan Gallery for contemporary feel and proximity to Wall Street to tie-in GE’s innovative messages
 
Advantium PR plan for 2000
  • National Association of Home Builders – Dallas, Texas 2000
  • Introduction of Advantium Wall Oven to media and GE business leaders
  • Sponsorship of press room
  • Live demonstrations throughout convention provided Advantium-prepared appetizers for 70,000 attendees
  • Multi-media presentation, using video and PowerPoint, produced for 1,200 select homebuilders
  • Media tours and demonstration of Advantium Wall Oven conducted in booth
  • Pillsbury Bake-Off
  • GEA sponsored hands-on cooking seminar for over 75 national food editors using Advantium Oven
  • Each of 100 Bake-Off finalists received Advantium Oven
  • Demonstrations of Advantium Oven conducted in lobby during Bake-Off
  • Development of Advantium 120 PR plan
 
 

RESULTS

 
Since its introduction, the GE Advantium Oven has sold more units than the total number of microwave ovens sold by every manufacturer in its first two years. 
 
  • Awarded “Best of What’s New” from Popular Science
  • Extensive media coverage in both print and broadcast, with impressions of well over 250MM (not including Web and radio coverage)
  • Articles placed in hundreds of consumer and trade publications, including: The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Business Week, Money and Popular Science
  • Television appearances have included CBS Morning News, CNBC, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Food Network, HGTV and dozens of local news broadcasts
  • In follow-up articles from its launch at the NAHB Show, GE’s Advantium Oven was singled out as the talk of the show
GE’s launch gave rise to articles touting the benefits of halogen light technology versus hot air technology.
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