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‘Trade-UP’ Irony

Ironically, a day after I blogged about D&M Holdings’ McIntosh offering a trade-in program for their products, we received news about the passing of an industry legend, RCA’s Jack Sauter.

In Sauter’s obituary Dave Arland, RCA’s audio/video marketing VP, noted that Sauter created one of the company’s most profitable promotions ever. Here’s what Arlen said: “By 1974 color TV penetration had hit 75 percent, so Jack created a trade-in program where dealers took any old color or black-and-white TV, working and not working, and gave the customer $50 or $100 toward a new big-screen TV, which at the time was 25 inches. The program brought in $2 million.”

Sauter did this with the RCA brand, a great CE name and certainly not an upscale brand like McIntosh. I hope this example will get some of today’s sales and marketing minds thinking … especially those in the HDTV business faced with the February 2009 transition.

No wonder why Sauter is in the CE Hall of Fame.

And, of course, my condolences go to Jack Sauter’s family and his many industry friends.