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12-Volt Group Votes On Campaign

7/30/2009 10:40:58 AM Eastern

Arlington, Va. - The 12-Volt Initiative, a group formed to raise consumer awareness of car stereo, previewed its plan for an industry marketing campaign before the automotive electronics division board of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) last week.

The plan could lead to the kick off of a fall campaign if it is endorsed and funded by enough industry members.

The plan's details are being withheld from the public until members of the 12-Volt board vote on the proposal, said Steve Witt, chairman of the 12-Volt Initiative acting board and marketing VP for Alpine. He expects the "go/no go" votes could be tabulated within two weeks.

The proposal is designed to help boost business for a category that has lost sales at a rate of more than 20 percent annually for the past four years.

Witt said reaction to the plan has been positive so far.

For now, he said, the goal of the campaign is "to improve the awareness and understanding of what you can do in the car to drive purchase consideration of our category, because that's the fundamental problem in the downturn of consumer demand. People just don't understand what the aftermarket category offers today."

The plan will also include creating a three-tiered governance structure for the 12-Volt Initiative that includes a small executive body, a task force and then industry members who want to participate.

Witt said the governance structure, the marketing communications strategy, the message, budget proposal and the business model designed to drive interested consumers to retail were all presented in Virginia last week.

The idea to form an industry group to raise awareness of car stereo was first suggested by Pioneer in early 2008 and led to an industrywide summit in Dallas last summer, where car stereo industry members met to redefine their target audience and learn about new marketing opportunities. One outcome of that meeting was to create an acting board of the 12-Volt Initiative and empower it to develop marketing ideas.

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