Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Article excerpt

Sally Sidani, vice-president of European marketing for Remington and Russell Hobbs, has a lot on her plate. By Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith.

Sally Sidani, the newly promoted vice-president of European marketing at Remington and Russell Hobbs, started her career trying to extract information from three-year-olds. 'You can ask them certain questions, but obviously they are not very articulate at that age,' she says.

That formed part of the NPD process when Sidani worked as an assistant brand manager at K'NEX, a toy company based in the US. Since then Sidani has swapped continents and age groups, progressing from working with toddlers to targeting, principally, young women.

Sidani joined Remington in 2003 as marketing manager for Europe, and has witnessed significant change in the brand's market position. 'When I started, the UK represented around 70% of the business and Europe about 30%; today it's flipped. The European business has grown quickly through our sales and marketing teams out in the regions,' she says.

Having risen quickly through the ranks, Sidani now finds herself in charge of European marketing for Remington as well as that of electricals company Russell Hobbs. The latter recently merged with Remington and includes diverse products such as Black & Decker power tools and George Foreman's Lean Mean Fat-reducing Grilling Machine Recently, however, Sidani's focus has been on the development of a new global identity for the haircare products manufacturer.

Earlier this month, it rolled out an international campaign that used the line 'How the world gets ready'. Created by Addiction London, the work showed women using Remington's hairdryers and straighteners as they prepared for a night out. 'I don't think I've ever said 'yes' to the first campaign or brand idea I've seen at pitch,' says Sidani. 'But (the Addiction ad has) got sustainability; it's got the legs to keep going. We don't want to be reinventing the wheel every year.'

The work was Addiction London's first for the brand, after winning the account from Albion in March. Recreating Remington's identity as a global brand meant a lot of work for Sidani and Addiction as they tried to merge Remington's differing personae in the US, Europe and Asia.

'In Europe, we've been developing Remington as a high-profile professional brand,' says Sidani. The company's UK campaigns, on the other hand, have had a far cheekier feel. The brand owner's previous slogan for men's grooming products was: 'It's what's on the outside that counts.' The ad told the story of two Spanish brothers - one who could see the importance of grooming and led a successful business and personal life, the other who opted not to shave off his extremely large moustache and lived with his mother.

Further differences abound in the US, where Remington is best known as a male-grooming brand. Here it is also associated with Victor Kiam, the late businessman who starred in Remington's ads in the 80s and uttered the immortal line: 'I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company.' Kiam's legacy (he died in 2001) is one of the great stories of US advertising, but things inevitably move on.

Remington's latest, universal message aims to highlight its relationship with consumers. 'By evoking an emotional connection through our campaigns we can elevate our brand to the state it deserves - being part of people's everyday lives,' says Sidani.

In 2005, Remington was bought by Spectrum Brands, the portfolio of which spans batteries and insect repellent. In February, the brand owner merged with Russell Hobbs - and Sidani has had the more mundane world of kettles and toasters added to her remit as a result. …

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