Sharp Campaign Focuses On Design Over Picture Quality

While competitors Sony and Samsung are stressing the picture and color superiority of their high-definition television sets, Sharp is emphasizing product design over picture quality in its new campaign for its slim-line Aquos LCD sets.

"We feel people are aware of the benefits of full HD," Neal Lattner, senior marketing director for advertising at Sharp USA, tells Marketing Daily. "Why not focus on design?"

Television spots in the campaign show performance artists--dressed to blend in with a black background--carrying the televisions. The artists move separately, then come together to blend pictures on different screens into cohesive pictures. One spot shows the artists bringing their disparate pictures together to form an image of a baseball game (Sharp is a sponsor of Major League Baseball). Another spot shows the performers creating picturesque nature scenes and landscapes.

"We think [the campaign] will stand out as a differentiator that will get our sales going," Lattner says. The company has not completely abandoned a picture-quality message, however. Print and collateral materials will still address the television's technological traits, he adds.



Sharp had a 12% share of the LCD market through September of this year, according to The NPD Group. The company was third behind Sony--which had a 25% share--and Samsung, which had a 21% share, according to NPD.

"One of the areas where Sharp has an opportunity to differentiate is in thinness," says Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for NPD. "They appear to be the first to market with an ultra-thin LCD."

Spending on the effort was not disclosed, although Lattner says the company will spend in the "tens and tens" of millions of dollars. The company, however, is airing the television commercials on high-profile broadcast and cable networks, including the NFL games on Fox and CBS and prime-time programming on the major broadcast networks.

Print advertisements will appear in major newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times and USA Today as well as newsweekly magazines. An online component is also planned.

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