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Blu-ray Ad Campaign Airs

Hollywood, Calif. — Sensing the need to step up promotional efforts behind the Blu-ray Disc format heading into the critical holiday selling season, a group of hardware manufacturers and studios have pooled their resources on a “multimillion-dollar” television, print and online advertising campaign, billed as the largest for the format so far.

The effort, called “I Do Blu,” quietly kicked off its prime-time TV portion a week ago with a spot on “Dancing With The Stars,” and will continue through the Super Bowl. Representatives working with the project declined to reveal the exact size of the budget, but described it is the largest to date for the Blu-ray Disc format.

“Before we were really targeting the early adopter [with Blu-ray] but now the time is right to really go broad,” said Rich Marty, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment new business development VP. “The [PlayStation3] is coming out at $399 now, and while some of  the purchasers will be into games, we believe a lot more of them will also really be into movies.”

“There are 35 million HDTV sets out there in U.S. homes now, and they need to be informed that if they want to maximize their high-definition movie playback they really need a Blu-ray player,” said Lexine Wong, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment marketing executive VP.

The ads reference the quality of full HD 1080, Marty said, and feature players and sets that don’t focus on any particular brand to remain fair to the three supporting equipment manufactures.

Companies backing the project include hardware manufacturers Sony, Panasonic and Philips, and Blu-ray-backing studios: Walt Disney Studio Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Lions Gate and Warner Home Video.

“It was agreed that we can get a bigger and better message out there if we all do this together,” Marty told TWICE, explaining the collaboration between studios and manufacturers. He added that some companies were invited to participate but opted out at this time.

Movies featured in the 30-second TV spot include some of the biggest releases of the fall, including “Spiderman 3,” “Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer,” “Live Free or Die Hard,” “Ratatouille,” “Wedding Crashers,” the “Harry Potter” series, “300” and others.

Magazines targeted in the effort include all of the A/V specialty publications, and mostly entertainment and sports-focused publications including Entertainment Weekly, Sports Illustrated, Maxim, GQ, Fortune and others.

The Internet component will include a wide range of top sites and search engines, and will link back to a micro site with more details on the Blu-ray experience, Wong said.

Handled as “a branding campaign,” key retailers starting with Target and Wal-Mart are tagged at the end of the first TV spots, Marty said, but other dealers will be included as the ads continue their run. Retailers will also be supplied with point of sale material, including informational brochures that explain the benefits of Blu-ray, 1080p and the hit movies available.