Temperatures are dropping and that can mean only one thing: the return of the “Amish Miracle Heater”. The device got worked-over pretty well in the press last season, but regardless (or perhaps in part due to all the attention), the sales campaign of the Canton, Ohio-based Heat Surge company was by all accounts wildly successful. Which means the latest round of ads hawking the heater, which as it turns out is actually Chinese tech in a snazzy Amish mantle wrapping.
Looks like today the heater is getting raked over the coals in an article appearing in the Boston Herald (find the full-length version at MarketWatch.com). Chuck Jaffe takes issue with the company’s claim that it “Only uses about 9 cents electric an hour; so turn down your thermostat and never be cold again.” He explains why that assertion is a bit misleading. Another report (no longer online) critiques new claims that purchasers of the heater get to take part in a “heating bill relief program”, which the author notes “sounds like a government rebate” when it fact it’s little more than sales schtick.
I outlined some of the issues I had with the heater in a blog post last February, as well as in an article appearing in the Washington Post in March. My biggest points of contention were with the marketing Heat Surge was employing, which I feel crossed a certain line. This was most evident in an ad featuring those two Amish staples, champagne and bleached blondes, appearing in Rolling Stone magazine.
Recently I’ve been able to dig into the issue a bit deeper, and will be sharing more in future. Apparently Amish woodworkers have been supplying some of the wooden mantles, but the company itself is not Amish-owned.
No matter how you feel about Heat Surge’s marketing strategy, from a business standpoint, the heater is a hit, and like Black Friday and duck hunting, the beginning of Amish heater season could become an annual autumn occurrence.