Meyer 5-star Cookware Centers

Meyer Corp has created an overall marketing identity for its five cookware brands. Meyer is marketing the brands under the name Meyer 5-Star and is encouraging retailers to display the products in their own space centered around a video kiosk. Meyer 5-Star includes the brands Circulon, Circulon Commercial, Steelon, Steelon Professional and Anolon, all of which were previously under the LeCook’s-Ware division. This is the first time that the brands have been marketed under a collective name.

Meyer Corp. is bringing its brands together

It has created an overall marketing identity, Meyer 5-Star, for five high-end cookware brands and is pitching retailers on the idea of displaying those brands in a new cookware center, which is built around an interactive video kiosk.

The brands–Circulon, Circulon Commercial, Steelon, Steelon Professional and Anolon–had been under Meyer’s LeCook’s-Ware division, but have never before been marketed under a collective name.

In the Pot

* Anolon: Hard anodized aluminum with advanced reinforced Du Pont nonstick coating; glass lids, phenolic handles, lifetime warranty; suggested price point $249 for an eight-piece set

* Circulon: Hard anodized aluminum cookware with distinctive high/low patented nonstick surface; stainless steel lids, phenolic handles, 10-year warranty; suggested price point is $229 on an eight-piece set

* Circulon Commercial: Heavyweight, hard anodized aluminum cookware with Circulon high/low surface coated with Du Pont’s Autograph nonstick; heavy-duty stainless steel lids and cast stainless steel riveted handles, lifetime warranty; suggested price point $399 for an eight-piece set.

* Steelon: 18/10 stainless steel cookware coated with Du Pont’s Autograph nonstick surface finished in a grid high/low pattern; glass lids, phenolic handles, 20-year warranty; suggested promotional price point $169 for a seven-piece set.

* Steelon Professional: 18/10 stainless steel cookware coated with Autograph nonstick in grid high/low pattern; glass lids, stainless steel handles, 20-year warranty; suggested retail price $199 for eight-piece set.

* New promotional price points

“Our strategy, since the inception of LeCook’s-Ware and the introduction of Circulon, has been to build brand names–such as Anolon and Steelon–separate from everything else,” said Norm Schoenfeld, executive vice president. “It was a great strategy, but very costly. Changing to a family of products under the 5-Star umbrella gives us a better ability to immediately effect more friendly product introductions.”

When the company introduced Steelon, for example, the idea took a while to catch on, according to Schoenfeld. “The consumer had a problem with stainless steel and nonstick going together because, in their minds, nonstick wears out and stainless steel lasts forever,” Schoenfeld explained. “That took a tremendous effort to educate the consumer. Consequently, it took us three years to build a following for Steelon; Circulon took five years before it started to click. The new umbrella will facilitate new product introductions in the future.”

Meyer has high hopes for its new marketing identity

In a kit describing the 5-Star program and the cookware centers, the company said its goal is to increase sales at least 20 percent.

The most visible part of the new 5-Star program is Meyer’s Cookware Center, built around interactive video kiosks. Working with Interactive Sales Systems, Meyer has programmed the kiosks with approximately 200 options, the kiosks let people walk themselves through informative tours on a variety of cookware topics and Meyer’s merchandise.

According to Gayle Adamowicz, director of marketing, the cookware centers have two primary elements–the video kiosk and the systematic cookware display. The company hopes to put about a dozen Cookware Centers into department stores in the first quarter 1995, Schoenfeld said.

The interactive video starts with a menu of nine options and branches out to specifics. Examples of selections include:

* What do Ineed? (Gift ideas and cookware basics);

* What makes one pot better than another? (Heat distribution and nonstick surfaces);

* Who is Meyer? (company background);

* Cleaning and storage tips;

* Go directly to Circulon, Circulon Commercial, Anolon, Steelon, etc.

Each selection starts a short video program. Hosts are joined by chefs such as Martin Yan and Graham Kerr to explain the features of the merchandise and to demonstrate cooking techniques such as deglazing, grilling and blackening.

According to Mitch Loring, Meyer’s sales manager for the New York metropolitan area, the kiosks help overcome the training versus turnover problem among department store sales staffers. The programs not only help sell to the customer; they can help train the personnel, too, he said.

The kiosks also provide valuable data by keeping a record of which selection consumers made. Going over the record of selections can provide insight into what people are interested in, Schoenfeld said.

Meyer provides installation of the cookware center and maintenance of the video kiosk

It has established a toll-free help number and says it will try to resolve any problems within 48 hours.

The cookware centers will display the 5-Star brands on special Metro-style units. Included in the cookware center are fixtures to display “try me” pieces, skillet holders and build-ups, logo signs and point-of-purchase kits with brochure holders and signs describing features and benefits.

“Each item within the category is presented open stock and boxed stock,” Adamowicz said. “This way, the serious cook can pick it up, examine it, feel the weight of it and immediately find the corresponding boxed stock so that they can make their purchase.”

Packaging will gradually change to create a family resemblance among brands, according to Schoenfeld. Right now, Meyer is putting the 5-Star logo on packages. “Ultimately, all packaging will tie into the family look, with most resembling that of Circulon and Anolon: white packaging featuring the product with logos in the corner,” he said.

Schoenfeld said Du Pont, which supplies Autograph nonstick coating for three of Meyer’s cookware brands, helped develop the 5-Star marketing plan. “Together, we have formed this strategy to capture the high-end market,” he said.

Jim Forte, Du Pont’s sales and marketing manager for the Americas, elaborated. “About a year ago, we and Meyer looked at the superbrand notion–pulling all those wonderful brands together–in-store merchandising, amassing product lines as opposed to independent brands.”

According to Forte, Du Pont enlisted its advertising agency, which came up with an idea for a merchandising display for a Meyer superbrand. Meyer chairman Stanley Cheng explained that the new Cookware Centers are part of a larger commitment to the U.S. market that also includes advertising and the building of its first U.S. plant. “For the first time, Meyer has made a substantial commitment in building demand for Circulon and Meyer 5-Star products through consumer advertising. In addition, Meyer is sponsoring three PBS cooking shows: Martin Yan with Circulon, Graham Kerr for Steelon and the California Cooking Academy show with Circulon Commercial.

“Most important,” Cheng continued, “retailers are going to see immediate sales increases with implementation of the interactive video program as part of our cookware centers. 1995 will be the most exciting and productive year for retailers carrying Meyer 5-Star products.”

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