By Claire Reilly
Whirlpool unveiled its newest range of refrigerators in Sydney last night to a selection of key buyers and retailers from across the industry. Representatives from a variety of stores – including The Good Guys, Harvey Norman, Winning Appliances and 2nds World – had the opportunity to get up close with the appliances, known as the Butler series.
Named for the features that allow users to better entertain in the home and serve guests, the Butler refrigerators include a number of modular sections that can be removed for easy serving of things such as drinks and ice.
The top-mount units are available in white (although according to the Whirlpool team, “White is no longer good enough and it’s now called Snow”) and a finger-print resistant stainless steel-look finish known as Metalium. There are 4 sizes including 340 litres, 360 litres, 410 litres and the top of the range 450-litre Snow model.
Each of the refrigerators features a twist-and-serve ice tray which can be removed as a whole unit for taking to the table; a dishwasher safe “Thaw Zone” drawer with anti-bacterial base and a “Waiter Go” removable drinks holder that can be packed with ice for serving four drinks or condiments at the table.
The 410-litre and 450-litre models also feature a special “Flat Pack” shelf that is not as high as other storage areas, allowing smaller frozen desserts or flat items such as sheets of puff pastry to be stored without being crushed.
Finally, the three Butler Professional models also feature a “Drinks Plus Zone” drawer with isolated air vents that make it the coolest area in the refrigerator and a special design that allows bottles and cans to roll down into a central serving drawer.
According to Stephen Hunter, Whirlpool’s general manager of sales, the Butler range brings the fun back into refrigerators, both for consumers and retail floor staff.
“We set out with a very bold destination, which was to build a range of world-class refrigerators that were built for Australians,” said Hunter. “Our mission was very clear and we took our time, we let the customer decide what the features were going to be on this refrigerator. It’s not us just selling a white box – this is designed by Australians.
“When customers walk into retail stores to buy a fridge, it’s very daunting and there’s not much between them. It’s the least differentiated product on the floor, and quite honestly, it’s been boring. But we’re going to change that by bringing the fun back into buying and also selling refrigerators.”
The stock is set to be rolled out into stores through August and September with the support of a training program that will allow retailers “to get used to the product”. Following this, Whirlpool will run a series of promotions from October through to January to drive sales.
In October and November, Whirlpool will be offering a $100 Aussie Farmers Direct voucher with the purchase of the 300-litre series and a $150 voucher with the 400-litre series.
UPDATE: Whirlpool also has additional promotional activity that was announced at launch (previously printed in this story), however the company has since announced that the information provided to press and retailers at launch was not final and details were not confirmed before the announcement.
Butler series models and pricing (provided by Whirlpool):
-Butler 340L Snow Top Mount: WRIBT34WB – SNOW, RRP $949.
-Butler 340L Metalium Top Mount: WRIBT34MB – METALIUM, RRP $1,029.
-Butler 360L Snow Top Mount: WRIBT36WB – SNOW, RRP $1,049.
-Butler 360L Metalium Top Mount: WRIBT36MB – METALIUM, RRP $1,129.
-Butler 410L Snow Top Mount: WRIBT41WB – SNOW, RRP $1,079.
-Butler Professional 410L Snow Top Mount: WRIBP41WC – SNOW, RRP $1,159.
-Butler Professional 410L Metalium Top Mount: WRIBP41MC – METALIUM, RRP $1,229. $1,229.
-Butler Professional 450L Snow Top Mount: WRIBP45WC – SNOW, RRP $1,289.
The Whirlpool 410-litre Metalium top mount features removable ice tray and flat pack shelf in the freezer, as well as a dedicated drinks drawer and thawing area in the main fridge, with removable drinks holder in the door.