Kärcher Pressure Washers have fun on TV

  • Kärcher needed to reignite a consumer power tool market which was down 10-15% in 2008 (Source: GFK)
  • By introducing how much fun pressure washers were, Kärcher came out all guns blazing
  • During 2009, Kärcher accounted for 129% of volume growth and 93% of value growth of the high pressure cleaner market

The Challenge

Despite being available in the UK for many years, high-pressure washers remain a relatively under-developed category – the tool men don’t know they need. UK penetration is only 20% of home owning households, whereas in Germany this figure is nearer 50% indicating the potential for growth.

Kärcher were the market leader but not yet the brand leader. Coupled with this, consumer power tool sales were down between 10 and 15% in 2008 and the pressure washer market volumes were declining. Kärcher needed to do something big to bring about a change in fortunes.

The mission was to drive sales by increasing awareness and consideration of Kärcher. What stood in their way was “that most sensitive creature, the mature human male”. Through research, it became clear that using a Kärcher high-pressure washer was really, really fun.

How could Kärcher translate having fun into sales? This was the challenge facing them. They needed to create a TV campaign that would demonstrate how much fun could be had with a pressure washer that would leave their target audience of men aged 25-55 asking where they could get one from.

The TV Solution

Kärcher needed to make an impact. In their case, there was only one option – peak-time 30-second spots. HMDG created an advert highlighting how much fun could be had with the pressure-washers, and Kärcher knew the audience they were targeting – Men aged 25-55 so they needed to ensure as many of the 6.5 million men in this bracket would see the advert as possible. This audience fitted the template of light TV viewers that cluster their viewing around certain peak time programming – live sport, comedy, crime shows and documentaries.

Zed Media put together a plan concentrating their TV spend across 15 days in cherry picked programming across all channels. The TV spots included Live Premiership Football on Sky Sports, Live Champions League Football on ITV1, Red Dwarf on Dave, as well as NCIS and CSI New York on Channel 5. The 184 TVRs were bought across the key holiday periods – Easter and May Bank Holidays.


Kärcher accounted for 129% of volume growth and 93% of value growth of the pressure washer market.

Kärcher sales were up by 38% year on year (Source: GFK)

Recognition of the campaign reached 37% (Source: HPI)

On exposure, the top three communications points were:

  • Powerful and effective machine (80% agree)
  • Enjoyable to use (75%)
  • Kärcher expertise (71%)

These were all aims of HMDG’s creative TV advert

With an incremental gross profit of £3.4m against the campaign cost, this resulted in a gross ROI of almost £6 for every £1 spent on TV advertising. (Source: HMDG; based upon known average sector gross profit)

As a result of the campaign, Kärcher has almost doubled its investment in advertising.

We know the positive effects the TV [advert] has had. We are now making a positive contribution with our advertising and we’re not as dependent on retail advertising […] Kärcher can now tell a very compelling story to the retailers. We’re a big brand, we’re investing in the market, you’ve seen what we can do.

QPhil Springall Senior National Account Manager


Sector: Household goods

Brand: Kärcher Pressure Washers

Campaign objectives: To ensure the target audience sees how much fun Kärcher Pressure Washers can be and to drive sales over the key DIY weekends

Target Audience: ABC1/C2, Men 25-55

Budget: £100,000 to £500,000

Campaign Dates: Three bursts 4th-13th April, 2nd-3rd May and 22nd- 24th May

TV Usage: 30”

Creative Agency: HMDG

Media Agency:  Zed Media

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