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Sharp Plays Up Sports In Campaign

7/21/2005 10:50:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK — Looking to maintain its market leadership status in LCD TV and other advanced television displays, Sharp has refocused its current brand advertising campaign with more attention given to sports enthusiasts.

The company is targeting sporting events as well as late-night and morning shows for TV spots in the second year of a multiple-year brand advertising campaign.

“It takes more than a year to build a brand, and Sharp is committed to building a brand overall … Our vision is to make sure the consumer equates us with good technology and great styling,” said Mike Troetti, Sharp consumer electronics group’s (CEG) executive VP.

Sports stadiums around the country will feature prominently in the current leg of the campaign, which began earlier this year and will roughly match last year’s effort in frequency and ad spending.

In addition to television, the brand effort also employs extensive print, Web and cooperative advertising vehicles to keep the Sharp brand and its AQUOS LCD-TV lines in the forefront of consumers’ minds, said Bob Scaglione, Sharp CEG’s marketing senior VP.

The first flight of the current version of the “More To See” television campaign ran in June and will return in September. The spots feature familiar locations, including San Francisco’s SBC Park and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, among others

The focus on sports is a return to a practice once used heavily by Sharp, before being scaled back in recent years. Scaglione said the company has elected to re-intensify its sports in the campaign because advanced television displays, such as the AQUOS line, have shown to be very popular with sports enthusiasts in user studies.

To underscore the effort, the company brought a small group of reporters to New York’s Shea Stadium — home of the Mets — where the company is a major sponsor and leases a corporate suite. Scaglione explained that Sharp’s vertical marketing group is working with Shea and many other stadiums around the country to place AQUOS LCD-TV monitors in strategic locations, including suites and concessions.

“Individual stadiums are now converting from plasma to LCD for a lot of reasons, including burn-in and burn-out issues, size, weight, power consumption and the ability to view a picture in a brightly lit environment,” Scaglione explained.

Sharp also works with stadiums and teams on “special-cause events,” Scaglione said. At Shea, Sharp is working with Nintendo and the Mets on the Starlight Foundation charity, which creates “Fun Zones” for kids in area hospitals, where patients can go to play electronic games.

Co-op advertising programs will also play a big role in this year’s campaign.

“We are better enabled to work with the retailers and piggyback on the advertising they’re doing, and incorporate more of our national campaign into their planned advertising,” said Steve McNally, Sharp CEG’s A/V sales senior VP. “Our relationships are stronger this year so the impact will be that much higher. We’re actually being a little more demanding in the advertising dollars we put out. We feel [they have a] responsibility to promote our brand. We find that too often the retailers’ brand of choice is themselves.”

For Web advertising, Sharp is continuing its “More To See.com” campaign, which started in 2004. Scaglione said in the September 2004 through March 2005 period, the campaign helped drive 116 percent increase in sales over the previous fiscal period, while doubling awareness and brand recognition at the same time.

Meanwhile, Scaglione said Sharp will deliver to AQUOS LCD-TV dealers this fall a new line of AQUOS-branded TVs that will be more aggressively priced. Further details on the products are to be announced at CEDIA Expo.

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