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Applica Introduces Black & Decker Automatic Jar Opener
May 15, 2003
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Applica Consumer Products, Inc. has announced the launch of its new Black & Decker(R)* LidsOff(TM) Automatic Jar Opener, which is said to make it easier for consumers to open jar lids.

"We're very excited to be able to offer consumers a breakthrough product that will truly enhance everyday life. Consumers are now opening an average of three to five jars per week," commented David Arnott, marketing director, Black & Decker Kitchen Brand. "Whether you're young or a bit older, struggling from hand ailments or just struggling to escape the otherwise monotonous task of opening jars, the LidsOff(TM) Automatic Jar Opener is the first of its kind and it will immediately benefit any user."

According to Applica, the automatic jar opener was designed to open a wide multitude of jar lids -- from larger lids found on pickle jars to moderate-sized pasta jar lids to a small baby food jar lid. The appliance reportedly accommodates most standard-sized jars measuring from 4.5 inches in diameter to 8 inches in height.

Designed to incorporate a large ergonomic handle for easy adjustment, the opener is said to adjust to the height and diameter of the jar lid and unscrews the jar lid to a loose position. Specifically, the user lifts the handle, and places a jar on the turntable. The user then holds the release button and lowers the upper body of the jar opener so it rests on top of the jar. Next, the on/off button is pressed down until the lid "pops," alerting the user the process is done. The opened lid rests on top of the jar for removal to help prevent spillage.

Additional features include cord storage, an easy-to-clean exterior, and a compact design.

Applica said it worked on defining the design and functional features of the jar opener with the RERC on Technology Transfer at the University at Buffalo through the sponsorship of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education. RERC on Technology Transfer's mission is to facilitate the introduction of new products and technologies into the marketplace benefiting persons with disabilities.

Jim Leahy, project manager of the RERC on Technology Transfer stated, "Applica Consumer Products, Inc. encouraged consumers to evaluate initial concept models and to identify both the functional and design features that the ideal automated jar opener should have from the consumer point of view. In effect, these consumers were performing a type of 'consumer engineering' that would ultimately lead to the finished product."

An integrated marketing communications program is set to be launched in the second quarter and will feature advertising, public relations, and web site support. A direct response print and television advertising campaign began in April, and the projected advertising dollar range is estimated at U.S. $1.5 million. Suggested retail price for the appliance is $49-$59.

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