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Panasonic Begins Tour, $100M Ad Campaign

4/18/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK — Panasonic is in the middle of a sixweek,
15-city Experience Amazing Tour for consumers
around the country and has begun a $100 million ad
campaign for its Viera and Lumix lines.

The tour is designed to give consumers an upclose
look at its 2011 lineup of FullHD 3D Viera TVs,
Viera Connect IPTX and range of interactive apps.
It began at Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall,
here, April 4.

The tour is focusing on Panasonic’s 3D Blu-ray
Disc players, 3D active-shutter eyewear, Lumix 3D
camcorders and digital cameras with interchangeable
lenses, and the Viera Connect IPTV apps for largepanel
HDTVs. The company hopes to duplicate the
success of its similar tour in December 2010 that attracted
55,000, said Jim Sanduski, sales VP.

Sanduski said the goal of the tour is to show “consumers
and local media our 2011 line and enable core
[retail] salespeople to be trained” by Panasonic staff
during the events.

Three separate teams are visiting the 15 cities at the
same time. Since April 4 it has visited Grand Central
and Roosevelt Field in Garden City, N.Y., as well as
Chicago, Boston, Detroit and Phoenix. Up next are
Philadelphia, Minneapolis and San Francisco (April
20-23); Washington (April 26-30); Dallas and Seattle
(April 27-May 1); Atlanta and Houston (May 4-8); and
Miami (May 11-15). Typical visits are five days.

As part of the tour, Panasonic will have promotions
with retailers within a 5- to 10-mile radius of each site,
according to Vic Carlson, consumer marketing group VP.

“Consumers will receive a list of retailers and promotions
when they leave [each tour location]. Regional
retailers, not just big-box chains, will be participating,”
Carlson said.

Panasonic is also offering 3,000 interactive end
caps to regional and national retailers that can demonstrate
the following features in both 2D and 3D: Viera
Plasma Advantage, Upgrade to HTIB, Experience 3D, Capture Own 3D, Viera Connect
and Skype.

Carlson said the six videos focus
on how consumers want to experience
content, rather than just the
hardware.

On the advertising side, the Viera
ads begin today while the Lumix
ads kick off “in the next couple of
weeks,” Carlson said.

The emphasis of the campaign
is on these sub-brands, and in the
past year the strategy has worked.

Since a year ago, unaided consumer
brand recognition of Viera
and Lumix is up dramatically. Unaided
brand recognition of Viera is up
nine times and Lumix is up 12 times
from a year ago, Carlson reported.

As part of the program, 3D Blu-ray
Disc “Avatar” will continue to be a
Panasonic exclusive through February
2012 and be “our focus” vs. other possible
movie deals, Sanduski noted.

TV and web advertising will be
part of the program, as will the second
year of sponsorship of the U.S.
Tennis Open in New York in August
and September, set to be broadcast
in 3D. There will also be a holiday
tour.

Sanduski also reviewed Panasonic
introductions made at International
CES and the overall marketplace.
He said that 20 percent
of TV sales last year were connected
TVs while 2 percent were
3D. Panasonic predicted that by
2015, 70 percent will be connected
TVs and 40 percent will
be 3D, assuming that some sets
will only have 3D or connected TV
features.

Sanduski highlighted the Viera
Connect NHL, NBA and MLB apps
that were customized for Panasonic
sets, reminding everyone that the
platform is for TVs this year vs. Bluray
decks, based on the processing
power and cost to do it, and
will include most social networking
sites, Skype, video game streaming,
health and fitness programming,
and sports.

“There will also be a Viera Market
capability to customize the consumer
experience and enable them to
buy accessories, video game controllers
and the like,” he noted.

On entry-level plasma and LCD
TVs in the 2011 line, Panasonic’s
Easy IPTV will be featured, which is
similar to the company’s prior Viera
Cast, a closed, pre-approved selection
of online apps.

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