Secaucus, N.J. - Panasonic Consumer Electronics will kick off a 15-metro area "Touch the Future" technology tour on March 15 that will be part of a marketing and advertising campaign set at close to $100 million this year.
Bob Perry, marketing senior VP, online commerce and supply chain, told TWICE the unprecedented consumer tour and ad campaign is part of a strategy to "reposition [Panasonic] as a marketing-driven company" to its retail partners and consumers.
The strategy is to "reach out directly to consumers, creating demand and getting consumers to recognize our technology, go to the store and ask for it. We are going to work hard and try to create a paradigm shift in terms of the way we are seen by our dealer channel and consumers," Perry explained.
The "Touch the Future" campaign runs from March 15 through April 18, with three tours running in three metro areas each week simultaneously.
The "Touch the Future" tour will be of "CES exhibit" quality, Perry said. "We are going to use a complete exhibit of all Panasonic products, 3D TVs, Lumix digital cameras, the entire array of our products ... talking to customers and explaining to them the full lineup of our products and demonstrating our products capabilities. "
Panasonic will also be demonstrating the capabilities of 3D video games during the tour, and Perry said, "We will announce, relatively soon, a marketing agreement with a major gaming developer for 3D. Video games displayed on our 3D TVs is an amazing experience."
Demonstrations during the tour will be conducted by Panasonic employees, and Perry said the company hopes the tour draws "millions of consumers."
Panasonic retailers will be involved and "will have the opportunity to coordinate activities, set up dealer booths, displays to also talk with consumers. Event marketing in advance will also be done to create consumer awareness and activities with our retailers in the 15 cities," Perry noted.
Several retailers per city will be invited to participate and "we will try to partner as equally as possible with everyone. [Retailers] should talk to their Panasonic salesperson on how to participate," he said.
Dates have not been set as yet, but the 15 metro areas are as follows:
New York City/Northern New Jersey/Long Island, N.Y.; Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana, Calif.; Chicago/Naperville/Joliet, Ill.; Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington, Texas; Houston/Sugar Land/Baytown, Texas; Washington/Arlington, Va./-Alexandria, Va., Philadelphia/Camden, N.J./Wilmington, Del.; Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Pompano Beach, Fla; Atlanta/Sandy Springs/Marietta, Ga.; Boston/Cambridge/Quincy, Mass.; San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, Calif.; Detroit/Warren/Livonia, Mich.; Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington, Minn.; Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue, Wash.; and Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, Ariz.
Perry noted that when the consumer tour ends Panasonic will "continue our media activities to drive consumer awareness and demand as we get into the spring and launch 3D TV."
The nearly $100 million campaign includes the previously announced $30 million ad campaign for Lumix cameras and will include TV, radio, print and online ads, as well as social-media sites. "We will be focused on driving both Viera and Lumix [brands]," Perry said.
According to Perry, Panasonic is perceived by retailers and consumers to make "bullet-proof products, better than anyone in the industry."
But the challenge for Panasonic is that "we believe the consumer understands that but does not know the range of all our technology and benefits. 2010 is an exciting year for introductions, not only 3D, but Skype video conferencing in televisions, the introduction of even more exciting Lumix products. So our sense is that we are going to rely on being a technology company and technology leader, but do a substantially better job of getting that message to our consumers," Perry said.