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12-Volt Campaign Ready For Summer

1/28/2009 02:58:00 PM Eastern

New York — The car stereo industry could be ready to launch a campaign to raise awareness by the summer if the economy improves, said Steve Witt, chairman of the steering committee of the 12 Volt Initiative—an industry-wide group to promote car audio.

“It’s not going to be a $100 million campaign,” quipped Witt, who is also marketing VP for Alpine, noting that “investment target” fees for each supplier participating in the campaign, have not yet been established.

The committee, earlier this month, decided to pursue a promotional theme based on connecting iPods and other devices to the car’s radio. It had researched four topics during focus groups held in December but none of them resonated with consumers. These included traditional car stereo themes: “Upgrade your car,” “Improve the sound,” “Cool ride,” and “Make it a new car.”

“Interestingly enough, none of those four concepts, which are traditional core value propositions to the aftermarket had much impact on the consumer. But in all four test cases, the consumers responded exceptionally well the idea of being able to carry in devices [to the car] and have full connectivity; whether it’s an iPod or smartphone or Blackberry.” said Witt.

After reviewing a 350-page report on the consumer panels, with the help of Jeff Manning of the Got Milk! campaign, the committee is now conducting research to test to the ‘connectivity’ theme to make sure it resonates with consumers, said Witt.

The board is then expected to create a campaign around the theme that could be ready to launch by the end of the second quarter or the summer, if the economy shows signs of measurable improvement, in order to protect the investment that suppliers will be making toward the campaign.

Suppliers on the steering committee include Pioneer, Alpine, Sony, Kenwood, iBiquity and Clarion.