Newegg Amends Best Buy Parody Ad

By Alan Wolf On Jun 20 2011 - 4:01am

CITY OF INDUSTRY, CALIF. — has added a disclaimer to a new TV commercial that supposedly lampoons Best Buy’s BlueShirt associates.

The move follows Best Buy’s demands that the etailer drop the spot entirely and discontinue the use of a “Geek On” logo that it said borrows too closely from the chain’s Geek Squad branding.

Newegg has refused to change the logo, noting that Best Buy “neither owns nor has exclusive rights” to the word Geek or the use of a generic power button icon.

Newegg, the largest online-only CE and IT specialty retailer, began rolling out the national branding campaign last month to attract a broader customer base. The effort uses network and cable TV spots and extensive online advertising under the theme “Take it from a Geek” to raise brand awareness beyond Newegg’s core tech-savvy shoppers, the e-tailer said.

The commercials take oblique potshots at Best Buy’s BlueShirt sales associates and Walmart’s minimally assisted CE departments, while touting Newegg’s own extensive knowledge base developed by its end-user community.

One of the spots depicts a young, blue-shirted sales associate in a distinctly Best Buy-like showroom who is befuddled when asked to describe the difference between two laptops.

The other commercial portrays a young staffer giving questionable advice about a TV until he is called away to clean up a spill in the pet department, and the camera pulls back to reveal the interior of a full-line discount store.

In a letter dated May 26 that Newegg posted on its Facebook page, Best Buy demanded that the company cease its “negative portrayal of our employees” and its use of the orange-colored “Geek On” logo that it said violates its Geek Squad trademark rights.

The campaign uses taglines like “Buy with Geek-like confidence” and “See why 32,000 geeks bought this camera from us” to underscore its role as a destination for early adopters, while also heralding a growing general merchandise offering that includes furniture, household items, clothing, office supplies and personal care products.

In its response to Best Buy, also posted on Facebook, Newegg said the commercial is “a comedic, tongue-in-cheek take on a commonly understood customer experience, and does not identify or focus on any particular retailer.”

However, it agreed to run a disclaimer at the start of the spot that reads in part “This advertisement … is solely intended to parody business establishments that provide poor customer service (but none in particular).”

Privately held Newegg was founded in 2001 by chairman Fred Chang, and to date has more than 14 million registered users. It placed 12th on TWICE’s Top 100 Retailers rankings, with $2.3 billion in CE sales last year.

Separately, Newegg was recently named Best Overall Online Store to Buy Tech in Computer Shopper magazine’s annual Shoppers Choice Awards reader survey, and won six Best Place awards as the best place to buy PC desktops, laptops, components and peripherals.

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