Bound by Nothing: 5 Questions on ‘Rebellious’ New JennAir Branding

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JennAir 2018 new refrigerator

JennAir this week revealed its new brand campaign, Bound By Nothing, a creative mission to reinvigorate luxury audiences. The premium brand of luxury kitchen appliances (owned by Whirlpool) calls this a “rebellious campaign signals the brand’s intent to tear down stale conventions, slashing through conformity to usher in a new era of luxury standards.”

JennAir’s luxury kitchen appliances are known for their sophisticated design, innovative technology and exceptional performance. It became known (as Jenn-Air) for creating the legendary downdraft cooktop in 1961, as well as for bringing convection cooking into the home. It duly expanded to designing appliances for the entire kitchen, from professional-style ranges to stylish built-in refrigerators and dishwashers.

Now, with new products and finishes, a bold new campaign, connected mobile app and revamped brand identity rooted in the iconoclastic spirit of founder Lou Jenn and today’s tastemaker lifestyle, JennAir says it’s “breathing new life into the very meaning of luxury.”

Launching at the 2018 Architectural Digest Design Show (ADDS) in New York this week, where its refreshed brand and product line was awarded Best in Show, the brand transformation is aimed at “those who share in the unshackled spirit of the Bound By Nothing campaign—artists, innovators, urban sophisticates—to experience the freedom that comes when old expectations of luxury are burned to the ground and new luxury emerges from the ashes, reborn and unrestricted.”

As marketing director Jon Hall told us, “ADDS attracts exactly the luxury audience we are seeking to deliver our new brand mission to, so where better to launch the new era of JennAir than at ADDS with this hungry and eager audience? Our mission begins at ADDS and is in everything we do: embrace limitless possibilities, challenge convention and give designers and tastemakers exactly what they need.”

JennAir Bound by Nothing display at 2018 Architectural Digest Design Show ADDS

Its launch event and afterparty (see a glimpse below) at ADDS were certainly designed to shake up expectations. “For too long, luxury kitchens have been designed with a compliant mindset that conforms to a one-size-fits-all notion of luxury,” stated Joe Liotine, president, Whirlpool Corporation North America Region.

JennAir Bound by Nothing afterparty at 2018 Architectural Digest Design Show

“This uniform interpretation of modern luxury lacks inspiration and inhibits personal expression. JennAir exists, more than ever before, to empower designers and tastemakers to bury these blind conventions and give new life to luxury rooted in confident, bespoke, earned and exclusive tenets.”

“JennAir is driving the luxury appliance category and the Whirlpool Corporation forward with provocative design, masterful execution and exceptional performance that unapologetically challenges convention,” Liotine added. “This is evident in the unmistakable edge found in every detail of its disruptive design, unparalleled quality, impeccable performance and frictionless connectivity.”

JennAir 2018 new refrigerator ADD Show New York

According to its press release, “The modern, luxury consumer prioritizes discovery and expression of self; JennAir will equip them with the tools to forge a new path forward in the kitchen. As a brand born to lead and never follow, JennAir, through Bound By Nothing, defies conventions to fuel progress.”

The Bound by Nothing brand philosophy is a nod to founder (and patent pioneer) Lou Jenn, who died in 1993 at the age of 77. According to his obituary,

Holding a restaurant ventilation system patent, Jenn founded Jenn-Air Corp in 1961, manufacturing and selling barbecue grills and grill-ranges. He later led the appliance industry with his invention of an indoor grill for residential use in 1970, as well as the glass-ceramic cooktop modules. His career in Indianapolis began in 1946, after he moved from Cleveland and helped develop the Kitchenair product line. He soon began developing his own kitchen ventilator for commercial use. After he launched the Jenn-Air Corp., the company developed various successful products before it was sold in 1978.

Jenn-Air print ad - 1976

According to JennAir today, his “legacy ushered the luxury appliance industry ahead when he defied physics with the invention of downdraft ventilation. This groundbreaking innovation triggered a kitchen rebellion, exposing sight lines and spurring what we now know as the open floor plan. With walls torn down, consumers and designers alike were granted a blank canvas for creativity. Lou Jenn’s rebellious spirit shaped the original JennAir brand and is woven into every tenet of the brand’s revival today.”

Hence its new positioning and brand story:

Born to lead. Not to follow.
Defiance is in our DNA.
Revolution is our origin story.
Incited by Lou, we carry his torch, ready to burn down the walls of complacency and everything in its wake.
Sheep be warned.
Stagnation be damned.
We will not be bound by tired trends.
By expectations.
Or false influence.
We are disruptors.
Challengers.
Rebels hell bent on forging a new vision of luxury.
Unabashed and unapologetic.
We champion design that you can feel and experiences that cannot be denied.
We are our own brand of badass and progress is our god.
JennAir
Bound by Nothing

With the Bound By Nothing line ready to roll out to consumers later this year, JennAir will give designers and urban tastemakers  and trendsetters the power to transform kitchen design, encouraging them to break from common experiences and parity in such an important space.

Across two new design expressions, RISE and NOIR, consumers and designers will experience the aesthetic edge they prefer as it relates to their appliances. The two distinct design expressions are made to meet the modern luxury consumers’ desires and work to deliver professional-style appliances for the home or an alternate option for those allured by minimalism and poise.

Born of the same spirit to rebel against tradition, the RISE collection elevates the current standard of luxury, while NOIR flips convention on its head, delivering swagger to the category. A digital platform cuts across all products and design expressions to deliver distinctive, uncompromised performance and service.

Already integrating Amazon’s Alexa voice controls, JennAir is also transforming appliances with the Cuts leather column refrigerator and freezer panels (there are non-leather options t00); the Smoke and Brass professional-style range (of which only 50 will be made); and Burlesque columns “that boldly showcase creative inspiration and skillful execution for luxury tastemakers seeking a custom aesthetic edge in the home.”

JennAir Remote Access mobile app

The Remote Access mobile app (launching this year) will link to Whirpool’s Yummly recipe hub and also promises to connect owners to JennAir’s “unparalleled service and knowledge epicenter, moving beyond category conventions to deliver what luxury consumers crave. The digital platform boasts a powerful backbone to control appliances remotely, engage the JennAir call center, beckon specialists with the touch of a finger, enhance food journeys, and access personalized insights — all in the pursuit of experiential luxury.”

“Today’s luxury consumers live on their own terms; connectivity is not craved, it’s expected, especially in their homes,” said Alessandro Perucchetti, general manager, JennAir brand. “The technology integrated into the JennAir platform cuts across every product to personalize the ownership experience. Inherently intuitive, the technology is personal, removing complexities, rather than creating them. In collaborating with some of the best companies in the world, we are working to deliver a platform that works seamlessly within the connected ecosystem our consumer operates in daily.”

Burn down the old. From the ashes comes freedom. #BoundByNothing

A post shared by JennAir (@jennair) on

The Bound By Nothing launch is also ushering in a new brand voice and visual identity to represent the limitless possibilities as manifested in the offering brought to market as well as the evolved look and feel of the brand itself. Touting a revived spirit that does not forget its past, the new identity boasts a bold, confident “J,” created with two ascendant columns hinting at JennAir’s product silhouettes and signifying defiant innovation that begets progress. Upon closer inspection, the counter form reveals a sculptural curve inspired by the intuitive downdraft design.

JennAir new logo 2018

JennAir new logo wordmark

The brand’s new wordmark purposefully encapsulates its emboldened spirit, as “Jenn,” harkens back to the progressive spirit of Lou Jenn, while “Air,” represents the endless possibilities that lie ahead. Together these are the tenets of the brand in its every action—from product performance and design to ownership connectivity and service and each touchpoint in between. Embodying the ethos of the Bound By Nothing campaign, the JennAir brand is limitless, paving a path of progress in the luxury category.

We spoke with Jon Hall for more insights into “Bound by Nothing” and the JennAir brand refresh:

How is JennAir defining this as “rebellious” branding?

Jon Hall - Whirlpool

According to Ipsos, 81% of luxury consumers believe the definition of luxury is changing rapidly. That change is underscored by a recent Deloitte luxury consumer goods research study suggesting that 45% of luxury consumers are asking for personalized products and services rather than carbon copies of conventional luxury. We saw an opportunity to bring new life to the category—and excite designers and trendsetters with killer designs in masterfully executed kitchen appliances. Thus, JennAir, a brand rooted in progress, has set forth a limitless new vision of luxury under the creative platform Bound By Nothing.

How does Bound By Nothing connect to Lou Jenn’s founding philosophy and approach?

Lou Jenn was a born leader who loved to innovate and he had a fearless conviction towards driving progress. He defied physics with the invention of the original self-ventilating downdraft cooking system in ranges and cooktops, which inspired the open floor plan. This is the spirit that continues to lead the JennAir brand.

Bound By Nothing was born out of consumer insight that the luxury category has become a stale and stagnant, yet the super-premium audience craves more—personalization, uniqueness, and something they can truly call their own. Bound By Nothing brings 70+ new products across two design expressions and an overhauled brand identity rooted in the progressive spirit of founder Lou Jenn and today’s tastemaker lifestyle, JennAir is breathing new life into the very meaning of luxury.

How does this new positioning support or shake up the brand’s positioning as Whirlpool’s premium brand?

Whirlpool Corporation understands the best way to grow and win is by constantly looking forward to meet and exceed customer expectations. JennAir leads that charge, pushing boundaries as the luxury appliance offering within the Whirlpool portfolio. This brand revival marks a moment in time for JennAir to showcase its provocative design, masterful execution and exceptional performance to the luxury tastemakers, designers and specifiers.

In giving the brand the freedom to think outside the box and push boundaries, Whirlpool Corporation is aiming to solidify JennAir’s position as the leading luxury appliance brand in the category and its first step is an unprecedented reveal of 70 new products at the Architectural Digest Design Show.

How is this an end-to-end brand refresh, from SKUs to logo to voice and visual identity?

For too long, luxury kitchens have been designed with a one-size-fits-all notion of luxury. The industry conformed and our audience continued to evolve with new means of discovery and self-expressions. We saw an opportunity to bring new life to the category—and excite designers and trendsetters with killer designs in masterfully executed kitchen appliances, and added a digital platform that enhances the suite of products with frictionless connectivity. Bound By Nothing represents how JennAir is reinvigorating the category. Expect nothing short of provocative design, exceptional performance and masterful execution in each of the 70 new JennAir products, delivering on luxury consumer’s expectations and then some.

What are the opportunities for growth for the brand on the back of this new branding? And what’s at stake if the brand didn’t evolve/revisit everything in this way?

JennAir has a responsibility to consumers, specifiers and designers to drive progress in the luxury category. JennAir is rooted in the belief that defiance begets progress—we are going back to our roots. Lou Jenn sparked a kitchen rebellion that exposed sight lines and spurred what we now know today as the open​ ​floor​ ​plan. His defiant spirit is alive today in the brand revival and masterful execution of each design new product. We will tear down stale conventions and outdated standards of interior design with the aim to inspire with a brand built for today’s luxury tastemakers who set their own, fearless tone.


Get more insights in our Q&A series and suggest a Q&A to editor@brandchannel.com.

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