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Newegg Amends Best Buy Parody Ad


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.