Dyson Ltd.

AuthorKevin Teague

Page 475

Tetbury Hill

Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0RP

United Kingdom

Telephone: 44 870 5275104

Web site: www.dyson.com


After experiencing years of success in Europe, the high-priced, British-made Dyson vacuum began appearing in the United States in 2002 during a time of recession and a waning U.S. vacuum industry. Nevertheless James Dyson—the vacuum's creator and Dyson Ltd.'s president and spokesman—stood resolute that his filterless, bagless vacuum would succeed stateside. Awarded Dyson's advertising budget in 2002, the ad agency Fallon Worldwide launched the "Doesn't Lose Suction" campaign to tote Dyson's superior technology in an industry that, according to Dyson, needed improvement.

With a $14.4 million budget, Fallon released "Doesn't Lose Suction" across television and print during the second week of October 2003. James Dyson appeared in some 30-second television spots while only providing the voice-overs for others. In the first spot James Dyson soberly explained the shortcomings of traditional vacuums, specifically, the clogging of their filters and bags. He then admitted to spending 14 years developing a vacuum that used centrifuge technology to spin the dirt out of air at 100,000 times the force of gravity. Dyson vacuums were easy to empty, never clogged, and boasted more suction power than traditional vacuums. The spot ended with a black-background shot of the new Dyson vacuum.

Soon after the campaign's release Dyson vaulted past its competitors and went from a zero percent market share to being America's top-selling vacuum in 2005. The success of Dyson vacuums, which retailed between $399 and $550, actually increased the entire vacuum industry's price tags, which had previously averaged $95 to $125. "Our goal is to completely change the way vacuums are marketed in the U.S.," Doug Kellam, president of Dyson, Chicago (the company's U.S. headquarters), told Advertising Age. Dyson's marketing involved blatantly stating its technical advantages over the competition and then unflinchingly attaching an exorbitant price tag. Besides increasing Dyson's sales the campaign also snagged a silver EFFIE advertising award in 2005.


In 1970, while studying at the Royal College of Art, the inventor and designer James Dyson released his first creation, the Sea Truck. His subsequent inventions included a wheelbarrow and a boat ramp that used inflatable balls instead of wheels. He started working on a bagless vacuum cleaner in 1978. Before Dyson decided to market the revolutionary vacuum himself, he approached the Hoover Company in the 1980s with his bagless, filterless vacuum idea. "Hoover wouldn't give it the time of day. They said: 'Bags are best. Bags will always be best.' Then they copied it," the inventor said in The Story of Dyson, a booklet included with every Dyson vacuum.

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James Dyson spent 14 years perfecting his vacuum. It used centrifugal force to keep dirt spinning along the inner cylinder's insides while the suction chamber remained unobstructed. The effect was similar to that of a tornado. The first Dyson model, the Dyson Cyclone, was released in the United Kingdom in 1993. The company put almost all profit back into development over the next 12 years, expanding Dyson's team from 3 scientists to 350. In an interview with Advertising Age, Dyson's global marketing director, Clare Mullin, reiterated the company's commitment to development, saying, "We're an engineering-led company, not a marketing-led company." Most of Dyson's European success was attributed to word of mouth.

Many analysts believed Dyson vacuums would flop in America. When...

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