CAMPAIGNS: Product Launch - Trim 'N' Vac really cleans up Sturgis

Client: Wahl Clipper (Sterling, IL)

PR Team: Hill & Knowlton (Chicago)

Campaign: "Finally a Beard Trimmer for Women!"

Time Frame: August 2001

Budget: Approximately $20,000 - $25,000

The Wahl Clipper Corporation wasn't exactly targeting the elusive hairy

women demographic when it came up with the catch line "Finally a Beard

Trimmer for Women!" Though the slogan does require a little


"While men actually use the Trim 'N' Vac, both men and women appreciate

it because it delivers a neat trim and leaves a cleaner sink, virtually

free of whiskers," explains Patrick Sandusky, senior account supervisor

at Hill & Knowlton.


The clever slogan was at the heart of a campaign commissioned by Wahl

Clipper to raise awareness and drive sales in advance of the summer

release of its Trim 'N' Vac, the first and only vacuuming beard and

mustache trimmer. "We knew our campaign geared toward women was on

target," says Pat Anello, Wahl Clipper director of marketing, but the

head-turning slogan wasn't the only direction strategists


"Other ideas included having a traveling 'white glove' testing by the

public to see the results of a cleaner sink from using the Trim 'N'

Vac," says Sandusky. "We also thought of creating a Trim 'N' Vac

character to personify the new product," he adds.

In the end, it was decided that the product itself and its unique

attributes needed to be at the center of the strategy.


Knowing that a clever slogan can only get you so far, Wahl Clipper

needed a big splash event to attract media attention.

"We chose to launch at the Sturgis (SD) Motorcycle Rally because it

offered the opportunity to reach our target demographic, namely men with

disposable income who sport facial hair," says Sandusky. In advance of

the event, H&K pre-briefed select media outlets to build momentum,

including local and national media, as well as biker trades. "We stood

at the street corner with signs to drive traffic to the booth, and we

registered at the media tent to invite reporters covering Sturgis to try

out the product," says Sandusky. Interested Sturgis attendees were

invited into Wahl Clipper's demo tent to test and purchase the product,

as well as receive complimentary items such as manicure sets and


However, Sturgis wasn't the only marketing opportunity H&K saw. "We saw

Al Gore's new beard," explains Sandusky, "and sent him a Trim 'N'



The campaign received significant print and broadcast coverage,

including segments on NBC and FOX news programs. Wahl's efforts were

also profiled in Jim Kirk's nationally syndicated Chicago Tribune column

"On Marketing, etc." and again in the Tribune's "Inc." column. WBBM-FM

radio (Chicago's CBS affiliate), Time Digital, The Charlotte Observer,

the Austin-American Statesman, ON magazine, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

and The Tennessean were among several others to pick up the story.

But while media coverage was important, Wahl Clipper isn't in the

business of selling newspapers. As a result of the campaign, Wahl

Clipper received orders for the Trim 'N' Vac from Sears' national buyer,

and sold out of its entire Trim 'N' Vac supply at Sturgis.


"For the rest of this year, we have planned heavy PR outreach around the

holidays, which will coordinate with ad placements in select trades,"

says Sandusky. "We will highlight the Trim 'N' Vac as the new 'neat'

gadget for the holidays, a great gift idea, and something to keep your

house clean when relatives arrive."

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