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Harman Consumer Rolls Out Active Retail Displays

10/18/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern

NORTHRIDGE, CALIF. — Harman Consumer
is rolling out active displays at retail for a variety
of its brands to drive up sales, said Dave Rogers,
VP/GM of Harman Consumer Americas.

Coinciding with the merchandising program,
Harman has renewed trade and consumer advertising
and stepped up promotion to consumers,
including product placements on TV
shows, he said.

The displays include floorstanding and shelftop
versions for JBL- and Harman Kardonbranded
iPod-docking speaker systems, the
Quincy Jones series of AKG-branded headphones,
and the JBL-branded MS-8 car audio
amplifier/digital signal processor.

The Harman division also completed an active
home theater display for Spokane, Wash.-
based Huppins and plans to build a similar display
for other dealers who want to improve their
attachment rate of audio to video, Rogers said.

The Huppins display uses JBL speakers and
a Harman Kardon AV receiver to demonstrate
the difference between TV-speaker sound and
home theater surround sound, he said. Consumers
and salespeople press a button to turn
on the surround system.

The rollout of the active displays follows the
launch of Harman-branded areas within Nebraska
Furniture Mart’s two stores earlier this
year. The store-within-a-store areas incorporate products from multiple Harman brands and include Harman
Kardon A/V receivers, an HK Blu-ray player, a prepackaged
JBL 5.1 speaker system, JBL iPod/iPhonedocking
speaker systems, an HK
iPod-docking boombox and AKG
headphones. The area, which
Harman offers to customize for
other retailers, is also set up for an
active demo of surround sound.

For its JBL tabletop iPod speaker
systems, Harman began in
September to roll out shelf-top
and floorstanding displays, each
capable of holding one speaker
system at a time. Dealers can add
their own iPod or use a Harmanprovided
source that plugs into a
back-panel input to demonstrate
music of many flavors. Different
interchangeable panels let dealers
customize the display for the particular
models they stock.

A display for Harman Kardon’s Go & Play Micro iPoddocking
boom box is in the works.

This month Harman began shipping active displays for
its Quincy Jones series of AKG headphones. Each display
holds three headphones. Two of the headphones –
an on-ear model and an over-ear model – are connected
to a source that plays music and a recording of Quincy
Jones explaining why he uses AKG. A pair of in-ear headphones
is not active.

Harman hopes to have 100
stores equipped with the headphone
display for the Christmas
season, with more to come after
that, Rogers said.

In car audio merchandising,
Harman in September shipped
an active display to demonstrate
the sound-quality impact of its
$799-suggested MS-8 amplifier/
digital processor, which can
be added to any aftermarket or
OEM head unit to enhance performance,
in large part by equalizing
the audio signal to compensate
for the undesirable impact of
a particular car’s interior on sound
quality.

The display doesn’t use a live MS-8 for practical reasons.
Instead, it uses headphones and prerecorded content
to demonstrate the difference in sound quality when
switching DSP in and out.