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Maytag Ads Ditch That Old, Bored Repairman for a Younger Model


The aged and very bored Maytag Repairman has gotten a facelift—and a new job. In an advertising overhaul that begins this month in Canada, Maytag parent Whirlpool (WHR) has ditched the 46-year-old repairman motif for Maytag Man, a human representation of all the things the company’s appliances can do, from roasting a turkey to washing clothes.

The idea is to use the traditional character, remembered by millions of Americans from ads that featured the same dour actor over more than two decades, in a new fashion. Out is the concept of stressing reliability, in favor of pitching consumers on just how much Maytag appliances can accomplish. The marketing transition is also possibly a tacit admission that fewer people still repair appliances when there’s a significant problem, looking instead for a replacement.

The can-do, more macho Maytag Man is now portrayed by Colin Ferguson, a 41-year-old actor best known for his lead role as Sheriff Jack Carter in the Syfy series Eureka. “He’s not the goofy, lovable, woe-is-me repairman,” Louie Calvano, creative director at Maytag’s Chicago ad agency, Team 180, told the Globe and Mail. “He actually is the Maytag appliance. We needed someone who physically and personality-wise better represented the machine … a manly, masculine man, who looks like he has strength and experience to him.”

Bachman is an associate editor for Businessweek.com.

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