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Toshiba Starts Major ESPN Media Effort

Taking a new marketing direction, Toshiba America Consumer Products launched last week a multi-platform advertising and sponsorship campaign with cable sports network ESPN.

The campaign, which is called “It’s a Game Changer,” is part of a larger corporate drive to increase Toshiba’s brand awareness using humor to connect the ESPN fans to the Toshiba brand, the company said.

Toshiba hopes to be the next in a line of LCD TV brands to successfully leverage the Disney-owned sports network for greater visibility among sports fans. Other brands to have used campaigns with the network include Vizio and Olevia. The former went on to make huge market share gains while the latter suffered management problems and disappeared from the U.S. market.

The TV commercials will run through 2010 on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, and will focus primarily on the company’s flagship Regza premium LED-backlit LCD TV series.

In addition to CE products the overall campaign will also include two spots on laptops from sister company Toshiba America Information Systems.

The company said the humorous spots feature everyday fans experiencing a transformation in the way they watch sports.

“Our goal was to create a campaign that sports enthusiasts can instantly relate to and demonstrate that our brand has personality,” stated Maria Repole, Toshiba corporate communications assistant VP. “As both our brands are proven leaders in their respective categories, we wanted to capture the passion of the ESPN fan base and connect with their emotional experience. ESPN provides us with the ideal platform to speak with fans in an entertaining manner.”

In addition to television commercials, the campaign will involve digital elements on and, Toshiba said.

Viewers will be invited to vote for the “Innovative Play of the Week” online, while viewing a message tie-in on Toshiba’s leadership in innovation.

Fans who vote for the “Innovative Play of the Year” will also be entered into a product sweepstakes, awarding Toshiba product prizes as well as an ultimate grand prize of a trip to ESPN’s studios.

The campaign will also utilize social-media elements to further engage consumers, the company said.

“From the first instant replay in 1963, innovation, technology and sports have been intrinsically linked,” stated Ed Erhardt, ESPN customer marketing and sales president. “We also know that sports fans are early adopters of technology and love the high-definition sports experience, which is why our campaign with Toshiba is a great fit.”