Tag: Made in the U.S.A.

Promoting Made in U.S.A., but Very Carefully

BRANDS reviving the “Made in the U.S.A.” slogan to attract buyers for American-produced goods are relying less on patriotism and more on data that shows consumers are willing to pay a premium for better quality, quicker availability and product safety.

This ad for Whirlpool, which makes some products abroad, also said most of its appliances “sold in the U.S. come from our U.S. factories.”

 But many companies are stepping gingerly, avoiding sweeping claims and spelling out what “Made in the U.S.A.” means for their products. Consumers are more shrewd about how few consumer goods actually are made in the United States, leaving companies less wiggle room about the origin of products.

The Whirlpool Corporation, for example, specified in full-page print advertisements this year that 80 percent of its appliances “sold in the U.S. come from our U.S. factories.” Despite its deep American roots, the 101-year-old company — which makes Maytag, Amana, KitchenAid and Jenn-Air products — has, like other corporate giants, moved some manufacturing abroad.

As a result of its centennial celebrations last year, some consumers have urged the company to talk more about its American origins, said William Beck, a senior marketing director at Whirlpool, which spent $57.4 million in 2011 on advertising, according to Kantar Media, a WPP unit.

In recent months, the appliance giant has been underlining its American factories, and noting in its overall brand advertising that it employs about 22,000 workers (15,000 of them at its manufacturing plants), and spends $7.4 billion annually on operating and maintaining its factories in Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

But Whirlpool, whose ad drew a full-page rebuttal from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers accusing it of shutting factories in the United States, said nostalgia and similar sentiments do not drive its sales. “Whirlpool’s key differentiating points are quality and innovation,” said Mr. Beck, and “the icing is that, hey, we’re made in the United States.”

Whirlpool does not share its market research, but other market studies show that customers increasingly take note of where a product is made. Perception Research Services International, in a September study, found that four out of five shoppers notice a “Made in the U.S.A.” label on packaging, and 76 percent of them said they would be more likely to buy a product because of the label.

While shoppers, especially those over 35, say they want to help the economy by buying United States-made goods, “the motivating factors actually may be quality and safety,” said Jonathan Asher, executive vice president of Perception Research Services. The company, which is based in Teaneck, N.J., surveyed 1,400 consumers last summer. “People are paying attention in categories that are ingested like food, medicine and personal care products, but less so in electronics, office supplies and appliances,” he said.

In a separate study, the Boston Consulting Group found that 80 percent of consumers surveyed said they would be willing to pay more for “Made in the U.S.A.” products than for those carrying a “Made in China” label.

They would pay the biggest differential for items like baby food and wooden toys, and a smaller percentage for electronics, apparel and appliances, said Kate Manfred, director of the group’s Center for Consumer and Customer Insight in the Americas, which released the study in mid-November.

“Safety and quality, and keeping jobs in America, are the important factors,” she said.

Bixbi, a Boulder, Colo., pet treat provider, has relied on safety to increase sales. The company, which started in 2008 amid revelations of tainted dog food ingredients imported from overseas, sells dog treats made from locally raised chickens and other animals.

“Our sales have grown 600 percent each year,” said James Crouch, who founded the small company with his brother, Michael. “Locally sourced is a key advantage.”

But for all the talk about American-made goods, Bixbi is one of the few clients that have adopted “Made in the U.S.A.” marketing, said Dave Schiff, co-founder of Made Movement, a Boulder advertising firm that handles the Bixbi account.

A Label That Has Regained Its Luster

From left, John Kieselhorst, Dave Schiff and Scott Prindle, founders of Made.
Photo:Benjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times

REMEMBER the Chrysler K-car? Dave Schiff, a founder of Made Collection, a new flash-sale site that sells only American-made goods, hopes not.

When he was coming of age in the early ’80s, the phrase “Buy American” was epitomized by Chrysler’s boxy, style-challenged sedan, marketed as a star-spangled rebuke to the sleek imports of the day. In Mr. Schiff’s view, you bought one to satisfy a patriotic duty, not a sense of style. “ ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ came with baggage,” he said.

Times have changed. Even as the “Made in the U.S.A.” label has grown scarce, thanks to the offshore manufacturing in apparel and other industries, it has acquired cachet as a signifier of old-school craftsmanship, even luxury.

The movement has come far enough that Mr. Schiff, a former advertising executive from Miami, believed the time was right to start a Gilt-like shopping site for the Americana set, selling items like shuttle-loom jeans, lace baby dolls and a 19th-century-style baseball made of leather sourced from a Chicago tannery.

“The old ‘Buy American’ is get something lousy and pay more,” said Mr. Schiff, 45. Now “it’s a premium product.”

Style bloggers were among the early adopters. “ ‘Made in U.S.A.’ has gone through a rebranding of sorts,” said Michael Williams, whose popular men’s style blog, A Continuous Lean, has become an online clubhouse for devotees of American-made heritage labels like Red Wing Shoes and Filson.

But the embrace of domestic goods has also moved beyond scruffy D.J. types in Brooklyn who plunk down $275 for a pair of hand-sewn dungarees sewn from Cone denim from the company’s White Oak plant in North Carolina. The adherents now include “urban creatives, high-net-worth individuals, locavores, liberals, conservatives,” said Mr. Williams, who also represents some of these heritage brands as a marketing consultant.

In other words, Americana chic has gone mainstream. Just visit the nearest mall. Club Monaco unveiled a Made in the USA collection last year, in collaboration with Mr. Williams. J. Crew cashes in on Americana chic by selling domestically manufactured Alden shoes, Levi’s Vintage Clothing jeans and Billykirk leather goods. Joseph Abboud’s home page trumpets its collections as “Made in the New America.”

The newfound pride also extends to American cities and smaller communities. Made in Brooklyn is a phenomenon so self-aware, there are stores like By Brooklyn that specialize in products made in the borough. Similarly, an old shoe-polish brand called Shinola has recently been revived to make upscale watches, bicycles and other crafted goods in Detroit and is being promoted as “Made in Detroit.”

Continue reading “A Label That Has Regained Its Luster”

Sears Avoids Class Action Over Made-in-USA Claim

By JACK BOUBOUSHIAN

CHICAGO (CN) – A federal judge declined to certify a class against Sears which alleged the department store falsely advertised its Craftsman line of tools as “Made in the U.S.A.” to charge higher prices.
In multidistrict litigation, plaintiffs claim that the department store Sears, Roebuck & Company deceptively advertised its line of Craftsman tools as manufactured in the U.S., when in fact many of the tools are foreign-made.
Of the seven cases involved in the multi-district litigation, four were voluntarily dismissed, one was remanded to California state court, and one settled after the court declined to certify a class.
In the last remaining case pending before the Northern District of Illinois, Jeffrey Greenfield claimed that he bought a Craftsman ratcheting screwdriver from a Florida Sears store in 2004. He said he recalled in-store signage that stated: “Craftsman Quality, Guaranteed for life, Made in the USA, only $19.95.”
In fact, Greenfield alleged that, in 2000, 20 percent of Craftsman products were not made in the U.S., a percentage that rose to 70 percent by 2005. “Sears chose not to make it known that such a high percentage of its tools were not made in the U.S.A., despite the actual knowledge that its customers believed Craftsman products were made in the U.S.A., because such a disclosure would force Sears to reduce the profit margin on its Craftsman line of products,” Greenfield’s complaint stated.

Continue reading “Sears Avoids Class Action Over Made-in-USA Claim”

FOX23 Special Report: The Made in America Movement & Made in the U.S.A.

Reported by: Adam Paluka   Published: 2/06 8:03 pm

Buy American and you help the economy. That is an old adage that is getting new life thanks to a movement to build homes across the nation using more products with the “Made in the U.S.A.” label.

If you were to drive around Tulsa, chances are you’ll pass a home built by Bill Rhees. He’s been making blueprints a reality for almost 50 years with his son, and Partner, Phil Rhees.

Together they run BMI Construction. Right now, they’re working on a $5 million home near 111th and Yale in south Tulsa.

“This house we started about three and a half years ago,” Phil told FOX23.

2008 was a time when no one was thinking about a “Made in America Movement“. It never came up with buyers.

“Never, never. They just assumed, and I’ve been amazed myself how many of the products we put in these houses come from overseas,” Bill said.

It never came up when they discussed what lumber, stones, and drywall to buy.

“We don’t know exactly where every individual product came from,” Phil explained.

Phil said last month that is changing, “We really do want to make a effort to make this happen.”

The “Made in America Movement” is simple, encourage builders across the country to use just five percent more made in American products during construction. It’s not the brain child of the feds, a housing agency, or politician, rather it began as a dream by on builder in Montana.

If every builder in the country buys in, Paul Kane with the Tulsa Home Builders Association said, “They’re going to create anywhere to 220,000 to 250,000 jobs nationwide.”

Phil is up for the challenge.

“I believe that we could easily use five percent more,” he said.

Easy because it could take just a few phone calls to get everything with a Made in the U.S.A. sticker.

“You need to spend some time on the phone with the suppliers to find out where these products are coming from,” Phil said.

Often, its overseas, but if you were to look hard enough, the movement’s believers say you’ll not only find all elements of home construction made in the U.S.A., but some made right here in Oklahoma.
Products like York HVACs systems made in Norman.

“If there’s a buy Oklahoma or buy American movement that would be exciting to everyone in this building,” Vicki Davis, who works for York’s parent company Johnson Controls, said.

Their facility is a world of machines, robots, assembly lines, and hard working Oklahomans.
Around 750 people get a paycheck at the plant.

“We offer the higher quality, and that’s what we sell our products on. It’s not that we build the cheapest, but it’s that we build the highest quality,” Davis told FOX23.

Should the buy American dream become a reality Davis would be excited.

“If we pick up five or ten percent (new orders), then we’re going to add anywhere from 150 to 200 jobs here in the Norman plant.”

Cost could be a factor, if made in America means your wallet takes a beating this might not work.

“A lot of it has to do with price. We have to be price conscious for our clients,” Phil said,

If the price increase to buy American made is slight, BMI Construction is ready to get on board

“It is going to happen, once we start getting the word out. It’s going to happen, just watch it,” Bill Rhees said.

Now, it’s all about getting the word out.

“If we were unaware as builders, just think what the general public is going to be thinking. They’re going to say, ‘My gosh, I never realized this.’”

Supporters of the movement tell me the Americans build 1.4 million homes each year. They say if builders reallocate 5% of their construction spending to American made products, this would add roughly $10 billion to America’s Gross Domestic Product.

Join the Made in America Movement, sponsored in part by Made in USA Certified.

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