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Maxell Revives ‘Blow Away’ Ad Campaign

Maxell Corporation of America is using International CES to update and re-introduce its famous “blow away guy” ad campaign to attract the highly valued 18- to 30-year-old demographic group for its blank media and accessories products.

“We are reviving an icon. It is timeless. And we are giving it the exposure it deserves,” said Don Patrican, marketing and sales executive VP for Maxell, he added that the program will be “multimillion dollar campaign” but did not give the specific amount budgeted.

The consumer effort began with “wild postings, like what Apple did for the iPod introduction, with billboards, construction sites” in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Cleveland, Washington, Baltimore and Atlanta in mid-December, said marketing VP Daniel Lee. “And we will have billboards in the top 50 universities nationwide.”

The campaign, which at this time does not have a TV ad component, will involve consumer print. The lineup will involve Wired, Rolling Stone, MacWorld, Spin, FHM and Stuff, while an online effort will be launched this month including an interactive component available on “We are targeting a younger, tech audience through non-traditional means,” Lee said.

Patrican noted that tactical moves will be involved in this campaign, “such as Web postings and a variety of different types of ads with key retailers.”

He added that Maxell feels, and consumer research has shown, that the “blow away guy” image is “timeless and illustrates home entertainment and enjoyment.”

The original ad campaign began as a trade ad in 1978 with the tag line, “Even after 500 plays Maxell continues to deliver high fidelity.” Patrican said that TV ads began in 1979 and were “one othe most popular ads in the history of TV advertising, based on the number of impressions and memories of the ad.”

The main part of the strategy is that, “We are going after a younger demographic with this campaign, and we look at this as a long term advertising strategy. We hope this campaign illustrates ‘feel the music.’ We hope it relates enjoyment, quality performance and the best in home entertainment,” Patrician said.

Since the original “blow away guy” ad campaign in the late 1970s, Maxell now makes more than just blank audio and video tape. The Maxell brand now includes accessories, blank DVDs and CDs, headphones and speakers. “And we still have a leading market share in blank tape,” Patrican claimed.

In terms of revenue, he estimates that DVD is about 40 percent of Maxell’s business in the United States, while audio (CDs and tape) is about 15 percent, video (camcorder and VHS) is about 30 percent, with accessories being 15 percent.

And Maxell claims it has strong brand shares in blank media in a wide variety of retail distribution channels, from chain drug stores to discounters, office superstores, warehouse clubs and music retailers.

Patrican noted that Maxell’s blank media sales have been strong for a variety of reasons this year and expects good growth in the first part of 2006 regardless of any economic softness. “DVD is growing in the double digits, and blank CD in the single digits. CDs are used for music downloads and file sharing, while blank DVD used for an endless amount of applications, from consumer uses to broadcasting, legal, medical, education. We see 35 to 40 percent growth in 2006 for DVD.”

Patrican, a veteran executive in the blank media market, predicts continued growth for DVD through 2009, but that recordable CD will eventually decline and that during 2006, “You will either see the emergence of HD DVD, Blu-ray or some combination of both.”

Concerning higher prices of raw materials and how it may affect pricing, Patrican noted, “In the history of the category there has never really been a sustainable price increase. Don’t believe it is possible now either. Price stability is more likely than a price increase.”

And he noted that if the economy slows, “I think that when people cut back they cut something big, like a vacation or buying a new car. They stay at home more, fewer nights out to dinner. Our business especially benefits when economy gets soft because consumers entertain themselves at home, using our products.”

Regardless of what 2006 holds, both Maxell executives think that they are in a unique position. “Our main asset is our very well-known brand,” Lee said.

Patrican added that the well-known “blow away guy” advertising will “drive the brand awareness to a younger audience. The ‘blow away guy’ won’t go away. It is an icon that will help us increase awareness and market share for our brand.”