Handi-Vac
A Reynolds Consumer Products (Alcoa) new product that needed a     relaunch in the US, improvments in manufacturing in Asia, and an in-depth  assessment for expansion in The EU, Eastern Europe and BRIC

     While working with Reynolds Acting President, Randy Zeno, on a number of different projects with members of marketing, finance, engineering, supply chain, new product development and international. we were asked to take on a task of significant challenge with the a newly-assigned brand management lead, Chris Lemmon charged with turning around a failing new product;

 

     Handi-Vac, was an assignment that took us from headquarters in Richmond, VA to factories in Asia and Wisconsin, potential markets in Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle-east, to being front and center and the Gold winner at the National Hardware Show, to visiting major markets and retailers through-out the United States as we successfully re-launched Handi-Vac to consumers and retailers alike.

 

     All this, while continuing to work on other units within Reynolds, coach the rebuilding of client management of and interaction with their ad agencies, and work to rebuild the spirit of a team that had suddenly lost it’s CEO, was under extreme pressure to improve performance, and in the process of being sold.

 

     We worked with virtually every part of the Reynolds team from finance to logistics and created a completely new program for Handi-Vac, including traveling to China to work with the supplier on product Improvements and better QC. A TMAG partner personally designed and transferred the patent to Reynolds for an all-new, cleaner, more readable, consumer interactive packaging with a "try me" feature (which also delivered a big win on customer scorecards as we reduced both board and resin by over 20%), and a new, easier-to-handle, much-better-to-look-at PDQ.
   
     At the same time we had an outside team create a direct response TV campaign for Handi-Vac that rapidly accelerated sales at key grocers, drug stores and Walmart, as well as developing incremental on-line and phone orders. We also opened HSN as a wildly successful new distribution channel and sampled Handi-Vacs in important consumer markets building awareness and increased word-of-mouth via a guerilla-marketing street effort to move existing inventory in old packaging.
     
     In a last minute strategic move supported by the acting president of Reynolds, we secured space for, created, and ran a trade booth with only a TAMG partner and a team product manager at the National Hardware Show. Handi-Vac went on to win first place for new products, which led to Handi-Vac being featured on HSN as one of their best products ever, and we made important contacts with major hardware and housewares chains for Reynolds they had not penetrated. We took the opportunity to introduce a new foil as well.
        
     Results? Everything worked. Even Walmart was happy. We delivered new packaging, improved product, new promotions, new sales outlets, and direct response TV spots quickly and that delivered results. They performed so well, that with RCP’s sale to The Rank Group from New Zealand, Rank was able to sell Handi-Vac separately as new management felt it wasn’t compatible with the core business. 

Shown here is both the original packaging that was not successful at shelf, along with the patent filings and the completely TMAG-redesigned packaging that reduced use of resin by 20%, provided higher visability on shelf, gave retailers a new easy to open and display PDQ along with the easier opening consumer package that added a "Try Me" feature

FIRST EVER REYNOLDS DRTV  Despite all the research to the contrary, the original commercials produced for Handi-Vac did not motivate the consumer. We called on Peter Blau of Customer-Growth in Westport, CT and Marla Hoskins of The Response Shop inLa Jolla, CA to create a DRTV campaign that with minimal expenditures completely reversed  the sales of Handi-Vac not just through direct, but more important, rebuilt velocity at retail including at key retailers like Walmart. 

NEW MERCHANDISING The effort for Handi-Vac included retelling the Handi-Vac story in more meaningful ways to retailers as in getting consumers back in the stores, developing graphically stronger, eye-catching displays, working with the VP of Supply of Reynolds, Gerry Cantwell, to have a fleet of trucks wrapped with the Handi-Vac message and then enlisting Ubiquitus Media (we knew its chairman, Bob Schmidt, from his days as president of Levine, Huntley, Schmidt, & Beaver) along with Catapult Marketing to take Handi-Vac to the streets to build word of mouth in key markets. All of the above initatives were implemented in weeks, not months. and most important, even as outsiders, we kept a sense of community with the entire Reynolds team.

Harry Falber  203.557.4150  hfalber@tradeareamarketing.com

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