Thursday, July 05, 2007

Kelvinator : RIP 1963 - ?

Brand : Kelvinator
Company : Electrolux

Brand Count : 246

Kelvinator which ruled Indian refrigerator industry is no more. The brand did not die on its own. This heritage brand was killed by sheer negligence and marketing myopia. Any marketer with common sense would not have done this to a brand like Kelvinator.
Kelvinator came to India in 1963. The brand along with Godrej, Allwyn has ruled the market for decades. A global brand, Kelvinator has its origin dated back to 1914.The brand changed hands so many times and came to the fold of Electrolux in 1985.

In India, the brand's disaster started in 1996 when Whirlpool acquired this brand globally. Whirlpool wanted to sacrifice Kelvinator for its own brand The entire episode of the change of ownership of this brand will make any Hindi serial sops look like a kid's story. According to Business World, When Electrolux bought the company White Consolidated which owned the brand globally, In India during 1996 Kelvinator's Indian licensee sold the license to market Kelvinator to Whirlpool. So Electrolux became a contract manufacturer of its own brand which was being marketed by its competitor. Whirlpool had the license to market Kelvinator brand in India till 1997. Because of this Electrolux entered Indian market with its own parent brand. The fate of Electrolux in India was also not good since it ran into huge loses.

You can see that Kelvinator brand lost its place because it fell into a cobweb of ownership issues. Whirlpool did not invest in Kelvinator since it had the rights to the brand only till 1997. So why invest in some other's baby. So during these years, Whirlpool harvested Kelvinator while developing its own brand. When the brand came back to its original owner, Electrolux did not had the money to build this baby.In 2005, Kelvinator was killed. When the brand was taken off, it had a market share of over 14 %.
A look at the brand assets of Kelvinator will make every marketer drool. An International pedigree and a whopping market share together with two great brand elements :
Mascot : Penguin
Tagline : Its the coolest one.
During its peak years, the brand was heavily built. During 2000 , the Australian circket team endorsed Kelvinator and Adam Gilchrist was the main character in the TVC ran during that time.Kelvinator's main positioning was based on its cooling power. The tagline aptly captures the USP of the brand. Kelvinator's compressors was one of the best available globally. Besides that , the brand was considered to be a tough and reliable one.

One of the best and most apt tagline for any refrigerator brand " Coolest one" , this tagline is still in the mind of many Indian consumers. The brand equity was so powerful that even without much promotion , the brand had two digit market share during early 2000.
I would blame the death of this brand on its owners Electrolux. In 2005, when Electrolux decided to go for the parent brand, Kelvinator still had a life left. It could have been a wonderful entry level brand for Electrolux. A brand with so much heritage could have easily created volumes for this company. But alas.... According to reports,Electrolux is set to come back to Indian market in a new avatar.

Kelvinator will soon fade away from the memories along with it one of the coolest brands.
Source: businessline, businessworld, economictimes