Texas Instruments Ignites Major Push For DLP HDTVs

Texas Instruments on Tuesday kicked off its grandest advertising and marketing campaign to support Digital Light Processing (DLP), a reflective display technology it developed and DLP-micro display high-definition TVs.

The Dallas-based company plans to invest $100 million in the campaign anchored by three major sports sponsorships, four television spots, online ads, and radio, too. The promotion ushers in the peak fall 2007 HDTV buying season.

The technology and entertainment arm of JWT created and shot the TV spots in California. The first aired on Sept. 8, during week two of the college football season and will run throughout the month on ESPN's HD broadcasts of Monday Night Football, and ABC and ESPN's broadcast of the Nascar Nextel Cup.

The spots emphasize DLP use of six colors to produce twice the amount of colors compared to other HDTVs--about 200 trillion. They also convey DLP advantages like no-motion blur or burn-in and a sharp, clear picture. "It's all in the mirrors," says Michael Guillory, worldwide marketing communications manager.



Research firm iSuppli estimates 1.5 million DLP TVs will ship in 2007, about flat with last year.

Attempting to boost numbers, TI brought back Bella and the elephant to share the magic of DLP technology and build on the "It's amazing. It's the mirrors" campaign that debuted in fall 2006. In the first spot Bella says "You'll love this. Watch. The mirrors make bigger, better."

TI also added Internet basketball star "Mr. 720," one of the only people in the world to successfully complete two revolutions while dunking on a basketball hoop. Mr. 720's feat was caught in high definition for one dramatic spot to highlight the lack of motion blur and fast action enabled by DLP technology.

DLP's Nextel Cup Car sponsorship will continue as part of the nationwide direct-to-consumer marketing effort of DLP technology and continues to mark the first campaign of this type for the 76-year-old Texas Instruments.

TI also works with retail stores to incorporate them in racetrack activities at Nascar by bringing in a giant mobile marketing unit with a 60-seat DLP 3D cinema. "We tie in retail programs at Best Buy, Tweeter, Circuit City, Amazon and others with Nascar events to offer discounts at stores," Guillory says. "The events help to explain the technology that TI offers."

DLP's sponsorship of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet and the related activation program adds to an increase in awareness of DLP by Nascar fans that has increased in the last two seasons.

For the few semiconductor companies, from TI to Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, that have consumer product divisions it's not unusual to put financial muscle behind the brand, according to Robert Burleson, managing director at equity research firm ThinkEquity Partners. "TI has made a name for DLP by marketing the technology under their brand, even though Hitachi might manufacture the TV, for example," he says. "It's a way to promote the core semiconductor franchise."

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