Bradford White unveils a consumer/trade advertising campaign.

Bradford White recently unveiled a consumer/ trade advertising campaign designed to highlight the importance of hiring professional plumbers to install water heaters.

"The heart of the matter is not where consumers are buying water heaters, it's who's doing the installation," says Fred Vatimo, director of marketing. "We want consumers to ask contractors to install their water heaters."

The full-page ad made its debut in the Jan. 31 edition of USA Today, one of the paper's biggest reads since it was published a day after the Super Bowl. Since then, the ad has appeared in regional editions of 17 other consumer magazines such as Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report and Sports Illustrated, reaching more than 10 million. Radio ads also ran in conjunction with the display ad in select metropolitan markets and reached 900,000 listeners.

"When you do it yourself or have it installed by anyone less than a licensed professional, you're not saving money," the ad reads. "You're gambling with comfort and safety." In addition to installation, the ad also tells consumers that professionals have access to water heaters not sold at retail that "can provide you with more hot water for your money."

The print and radio ads urge consumers to order a copy of the company's new brochure, "30 Reasons To Buy A Water Heater From Your Plumber," either by phone or visiting Bradford White's Web site.

In the meantime, Bradford White also promoted the consumer campaign with ads in trade journals, direct mail and broadcast faxes to wholesalers, contractors and reps.

Most important to the trade, the company is currently building a nationwide database of licensed plumbers. Consumers will be able to access the database either through Bradford White's Web site or by calling a toll-free number to locate a local licensed plumber.

"If we're telling consumers about the importance of professional installation, then we've got to provide consumers with a way to hire a local pro," Vatimo adds.

Around 800 plumbers who are currently part of the PHCC Professional Product Line to install Bradford White are already on the database. The company is currently adding the results of a direct mail campaign to contractors across the country. Beyond these two steps, the company will supply wholesalers, reps and its own sales force with additional sign-up forms for contractors.