New York— Philips will continue to sharpen its brand marketing, advertising and promotional efforts on key consumer segments that it has identified as "building blocks" to leading in all the digital product categories in which it participates.
That was the message delivered by Larry Blanford, recently appointed Philips Consumer Electronics North America president, in his first formal introduction to the press during the company's annual "Christmas In June" product line review for the media.
Blanford called his new company an "exciting" technology pioneer that still has a few marketing "challenges" to overcome. The most important, he said, is continuing to build awareness of the Philips brand name in the United States.
He credited recent advertising initiatives with building momentum but added, "the company's advertising and communications efforts need to be in better sync with our distribution plans."
Philips, he said, will continue its aggressive advertising efforts, focusing on key demographic groups. The "red, white and blue star" groups that shop specialty stores include:
The "innovators" — those motivated to buy new technologies — represents about 29 percent of the audience.
The "modern classics" — those focused on product performance, who follow the lead of the innovators.
The "plugged-ins" — those attracted to the look and design of the latest and "coolest" products.
Two other segments that Blanford said are typically older and mass-merchant-oriented are also still on the radarscope. They include "the reachables," who are older, value-driven but brand sensitive buyers, and "the basics" who shop for value at the best price.
Blanford said the latter two groups provide some opportunity for the Magnavox brand, which has more history and recognition among older demographics. But believing that the Philips brand name now "crosses generational lines," Blanford said the company has halted further production of products carrying the dual Philips/Magnavox brand.
Meanwhile, Philips corporate, covering all the divisions of Philips in the United States, announced the sponsorship of the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) in a five-year multimillion dollar deal that includes stadium signage, television advertising for Philips on ABC and ESPN, and co-branding with Nike on the athletes' training jerseys. In a separate deal, Philips will help the USSF develop and maintain its presence on the Web.
The company is also targeting X-treme sporting events to showcase its products to young audiences. These include a recent sponsorship in the Beach Bash in Formosa Beach, Calif., and new Philips-initiated events in Los Angeles and New York's Central Park called Philips Fusion.
New products announced at the event included Philips new Design Line television series, including three 30W-inch widescreen direct-view HDTV monitors in highly styled cabinets with a choice of lavender, ivory or platinum color accents. Also announced was a new ultra-compact Rush solid state MP3 player that is 15 percent smaller than the previous generation.