ANALYSIS: Turtlewax comes out of its shell

For years Turtlewax has kept a low marketing profile - now it needs to work hard buffing up its image. Can Kellogg’s Rob Morgan make the lacklustre company shine?

For years Turtlewax has kept a low marketing profile - now it needs to

work hard buffing up its image. Can Kellogg’s Rob Morgan make the

lacklustre company shine?



Rob Morgan’s switch from cereal giant Kellogg to the car wax company

Turtlewax may appear at first glance to be an odd move.



Kellogg’s marketing chief will be leaving a company with a pounds 70m

marketing budget and a brand presence in millions of UK homes, to take

up the top job of senior managing director with a company that has an

annual advertising spend of only pounds 1.5m.



Yet on closer inspection there are a number of similarities that help

to explain why Morgan was attracted to the challenges facing him at

Turtlewax when he takes up his new job in the new year.



Turtlewax and Kellogg are both large and secretive US corporations. They

both register a high brand awareness and their products are distributed

over a wide range of international distribution markets.



The difference is in the marketing of the product, and that is where

Morgan comes in. Turtlewax has occupied a dominant position in its

market for so long that it has tended to regard advertising as low down

on its list of priorities. Morgan is seen as the man who will give it

more snap, crackle and pop.



Chuck Tornabene, president of consumer and industrial products

worldwide, recruited Morgan for that specific purpose. ‘The area of

sales and marketing does needs attention and if we are to accomplish our

long-term goals then we need more focus,’ he says.



Morgan joined Kellogg in 1987, and has been credited with protecting its

market share from competition such as Cereal Partners and Weetabix. His

marketing skills helped Kellogg claw back its share of the pounds 981m

breakfast cereal market (Datamonitor 1994) that it lost in the 80s.

Kellogg’s products now command more than half of the breakfast cereals

market.



His ascent up the corporate ladder has been meteoric, from category

manager to marketing director in four years. Morgan was destined for

greater things, say company sources, who add that Kellogg is peeved at

losing him.



Morgan, 37, has been brought in over the head of Turtlewax’s present

managing director Roy Line, aged 65. Line will report to Morgan.



‘Roy Line has a wealth of experience and tremendous knowledge. There

are a number of ways his talents can be used in the export or UK arena,’

Turtlewax’s Tornabene explains. ‘That, however, is up to Rob Morgan.’



But why has Turtlewax felt the need to go out and find itself a heavy-

hitter from the marketing field? It certainly does not have the

appearance of a company that is shaky on its feet.



It is the clear leader in the pounds 50m auto aftermarket sector - car

valeting makes up the largest proportion. It has more than 50% of the UK

market and in the 60 countries it operates this figure rises to a mean

average of 68%.



Turtlewax plans to expand into new countries with its portfolio of 64

products. Line, who has 15 years’ experience in the field of car-

cleaning products, would be well qualified to take up a top role in

international development.



Waking up to advertising



While there is ample opportunity for expanding the international side of

the business a different picture is emerging in the UK.



Consumers in emerging markets abroad are more likely to spend their

leisure hours lovingly polishing their new cars than their UK

counterparts. Over here the fall in the number of new users of Turtlewax

products is estimated to be as much as 15% in the past three to five

years. And the allure of products such as Wheel Magic and Rain Kleer may

not be enough to lure a car owner away from the TV or shopping trip.



Turtlewax is beginning to address the issue of the UK market. Earlier

this year it appointed Peter White its first marketing manager. After

reviewing the advertising strategy he switched the pounds 1.5m account

from McCann-Erickson to Manchester agency BDH.



BDH is on the record as saying that it is ‘working on a long-term brand

and business strategy that will result in traditional product

demonstration-type ads but with a much stronger brand dimension.’ The

result will be seen on TV in the spring.



Morgan is likely to want to increase the advertising budget. New

products at a rate of two to four a year will be rolled out to grow the

market and stimulate the car-caring public’s interest.



One insider spelled out Turtlewax’s future. ‘It’s been at the top of the

pile for a long time and although it has not been complacent it has to

take more responsibility for growing the market.



‘Turtlewax is not a docile beast - it just needs a prod to get it moving

a little faster.’



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