Philips sex up their brand

How do you update and refresh a huge corporate brand like Philips? The common route is to plump for a corporate communication campaign, and Philips has done a fair bit of this, with its "Sense and Simplicity" idea. However, their move into sexual aids is much more likely to change our opinion of the brand. No one doubts its technical competence, or sausage. But it has lacked some emotional sizzle, and the wow design of competitors like Apple.

A fascinating article on the re-launch of the Philips electronic massager in The Times is a mini case study of how the company is trying to add more sizzle to what it does and be more customer focused. As the article says, "Gone are the days when the boffins at Eindhoven would invent whizzy
things and then figure out if they were useful. Today Philips is

The massager was launched in the UK a year ago, with subtle packaging and the name "Warm Intimate Massager for Couples". Whilst satisfaction amongst users was high, and online sales were encouraging, the product was not selling well in the Boots highstreet stores. As the article says, "So understated was the packaging, so subtle the product description and
so tasteful was the advertising that consumers did not get it." The product is now being re-launched as the "Sensual Massager" and the pack is much clearer in selling what the product is for. Here's what I like about this.

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1. Great sausage

I haven't tried it yet ;-), but this looks like a really good product. It has been voted as "The Most satisfying sex toy for couples". The massagers have been designed to look sensual, but in a classy sort of way. More "9 1/2 weeks" than smutty movie!

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2. Acting on the feedback fast

A sign of the changes at Philips is the speed of the re-launch. In 12 months they launched the first version of the product, got the learning, re-designed the pack and got it on shelf. And to top it off, they got a full page spread in The Times newspaper on the back of this. Great for the product, and for the company.

They have also pushed the sizzle on their website to show the product in use!

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3. Channel innovation

The team have been bold in getting distribution in Ann Summers and is also
experimenting with Love Honey, an online retailer full of ecstatic reviews of satisfied Philips customers.

4. Following the money

Any effect on the Philips brand is of course a bonus. But the biggest reason for this product launch is going after a share of a billion dollar market for sexual aids, and even seeking to grow this with more premium, high quality products.

In conclusion, a bold brand move into a dynamic new market, with a nice combination of sausage and sizzle. Not sure these are the best words to write about this product actually 😉