Mr Rental: emerging franchise, emerging threat

By Patrick Avenell

Queensland-based appliance rental brand Mr Rental has begun an aggressive incursion into Sydney. The campaign is supported by television advertisements and is aimed at taking targeted consumers away from the traditional retailer.

Originally a family-owned business Mr Rental has expanded rapidly since franchising was introduced. The business model has so far been successful, with the company winning the regional MYOB award for Best Emerging Franchise. This success and expansion could be seen as a threat to the Harvey Normans and Clive Peeters of the world, some of which have had not yet had to compete with Mr Rental.

Mr Rental recently opened its fourth Sydney store, based in Penrith, and a further seven are currently planned. Of these, the next to open will be in Sydney’s outer north west, an area packed with young families – a demographic that Mr Rental is keen to target.

“Historically, [renting] was for more financially constrained people…now the younger generation are keeping their options open,” said Mr Rental general manager, Alan Payne. “They’re trend conscious and more likely to consider renting.”

According to Payne, the appliance rental market is currently undergoing a shift. A very mature industry, it was previously fuelled by major whitegoods and TVs. Now, high end AV products and computers are driving rentals forward. With new technology arriving constantly, some products are outdated and outmoded as soon as they’re out of the box. Renting can be a cost-effective way of keeping up-to-date with new trends and technologies – information that could concern the big electrical retailers that survive on selling big ticket items and then replacement items a few years later.

The incursion into new territory is being supported by a creative television campaign. The advertisements feature stop-motion animation and endeavour to introduce end-users to Mr and Mrs Rental – who are portrayed as appliance-renting suburbanites that Australian consumers can relate to. It is a definite contrast from the high-impact, in-your-face, price-based advertisements that are often run by retailers and opposition rental brands.

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