Australian humour meets home appliances: inside Westinghouse's 'Happy to Help' via Connecting Plots

By Ruby Derrick | 20 September 2023

Connecting Plots’ latest work for Westinghouse, ‘Happy to helptells the story of a dinner party gone wrong, thanks to a lively Grey Morwong fish. 

More than that, it positions the brand as the reliable helping hand in Australian homes, ready to step up when needed.  

The campaign started with the challenge to situate the brand as uniquely Westinghouse, to cut through and stand out, said Electrolux Group’s ANZ marketing director, Richelle Barker.  

This time around, the company wanted to speak to a younger audience.   

“We wanted to push the boundaries even further and inject humour in a different way. That's when the magic started to happen,” said Barker. 

The appliance manufacturer has been working alongside creative agency, Connecting Plots, for more than eight years. 

Richelle Barker

On the concept behind the campaign, Barker (pictured right) said the agency kept coming back with creative ideas that included a fish.  

“The benefit for us was working with Connecting Plots for so long to understand how we’ve used humour in the past and how we can push it further this time,” she said. 

“It was about getting the trust from our business to try and be a little bit creative and differentIn comes the fish.” 

The whole principle behind everything Connecting Plots has done, is to be what its competitors aren’t doing, said Dave Jansen, CCO and co-founder of Connecting Plots.  

“We sit at number three in the category with Samsung and LG sitting above us. Those brands and their nuances talk about things in a very particular way in a category that always talks in a very similar way,” said Jansen. 

“The fish and everything around it is all designed to be different, distinctive and memorable with the consumer.'

Barker said the Korean brands are quite technical in their creative approach, while the European brands can be quite serious.  

“What we can do from a local point of view is be funny, which is also very much Australian,” she said. 

Connecting Plots partnered with Westinghouse around eight years ago, when the company originally started doing its first consumer columns.  

It came at a time when the team wanted to refresh Westinghouse, notes Barker, as well as maintaining its relevance and to speak to that younger audience. 

“It was hard for us to push the boundaries too much initially to get that balance of humour. We were very category specific at the time, we did something on an oven and something on a cooktop and it was sort of our starting point for Westinghouse,” she said. 

In the years since, the two teams started to get a feel for what worked, how they could optimise the brand and how far they could push the humour, said Barker.  

Both Westinghouse and Connecting Plots have done research across all of the different creatives they’ve executed together.  

“That's how we've kept that relationship and kept working because we've been able to lean on the experience and intelligence from past campaigns and research that we're all very familiar with, and then build a strategy off that,” said Barker.  

“The challenge this time was to make sure that not just the brand, but the creative platform is memorable in 20 years time. 

Dave Jansen.

Jansen (pictured right) said the teams began by being very product centric. 

“What's always underpinned the creative approach - no matter what the campaign was, or what year it was – is this connection back to the philosophy of the design of the products,” he said.  

It’s called practical inventiveness. It’s this human centric design philosophy that's all about simplifying life for consumers and not having superfluous tech as part of the features. We've always had that as part of the creative. 

Practical inventiveness sits at the heart of Westinghouse’s approach to design and function.

This time around, the agency has placed an emphasis on future-proofing and cementing the brand, said Jansen.  

“That's been about building that longer term brand equity. It's the big shift that’s going to galvanise the business to get behind it and make it a platform that doesn't just exist as consumer comms; it's got so much more potential than that within the business as well,” he said. 

As a result of that long-term partnership, Connecting Plots and Westinghouse faced no major roadblocks in the campaign process, said Barker.  

“We have built trust together. There’s been a lot of freedom in terms of our approach, as long as everything was consumer led,” she said. 

“We made sure that we had a few rounds of insights and research. We weren’t going to spend $1 in production until we knew that it was going to be effective for the brand and meaningful for consumers. 

Jansen also said there weren’t any major obstacles throughout the creative development.  

“Except for deciding what colour the eyes of the fish were going to be,” he said.  

Both Connecting Plots and Westinghouse worked together to build that distinction for the brand, said Jansen. 

“It’s within the way that we've even refreshed the identity, the look and the feel – that's been very deliberate,” he said. 

We’ve built a sonic branding asset, heard at the end of the campaign. The jingle is all around ‘Happy to Help’ and is designed to get in people’s minds and irritate them at 11pm when they’re thinking about their washing machine."

It’s all calculated, said Jansen, so they can start to build those memory structures.  

“Using humour and knowing that's one weapon in our toolkit that we can use that other competitors don't use as effectively."  

That's inherently relatable to Australian culture, the way in which people don’t take themselves too seriously, said Jansen.  

The platform reflects the Australian persona; being ‘happy to help’ is that idea of stepping up and helping out, he said.  

We’ve tried to draw parallels with the Australian psyche and the culture of Australia so that we can submiWestinghouse as being a part of Australian households.  

That’s been the common operating language that we've had, all the way from strategy and research and into production discussions as well around what we're doing to build this campaign and make it as effective as possible," he said.

Barker said it's been great to see the Westinghouse brand be supported by a business in a tough economic environment.  

We’re excited to be able to bring this to the market and maintain our relevance during this timeThat's been an enjoyable part from my point of view, being able to drive this brand,” she said.  

For a brand to succeed, said Jansen, it’s got to tell a story people care about and do that perfectly everywhere.

“'Happy to Help' is not just a consumer comms platform. It’s been designed to be B2B,” said Jansen. 

The retail component of the business is a powerful and important part of what delivers growth and market share, he said.  

“It comes back to the brand's customer care; their attitude in which they're ‘happy to help’. It’s been designed to go throughout the entire business," said Jansen.

“No matter where you are, it’s always a consistent experience with Westinghouse.” 

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