BEST BUY FOSTERS AD IMAGE OF CUSTOMER IN CONTROL

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Best Buy Co. on April 7 broke its first image campaign, with spending estimated at $20 million.

The No. 2 electronic retailer is using humor to position itself as a store where there is no sales pressure.

"The entire concept of Best Buy is that the customer is in control," said Paul Silverman, chief creative officer for agency Mullen, Wenham, Mass. "Associates at Best Buy are service people, not people who will push consumers with high-pressure sales tactics."

SETTING BEST BUY APART

Best Buy is attempting to set itself apart from No. 1 Circuit City Stores, now running a humorous, price-focused image campaign via DeVito/Verdi, New York. Circuit City has a full-time sales staff said to appeal more to the baby boomers while Best Buy prefers to use the hands-off approach, appealing more to Generation X.

"Best Buy [needs] to communicate the concept," Mr. Silverman said. "If you look at research, consumers already say that Best Buy is probably the lowest price." This is Mullen's first assignment for Best Buy. It won a creative project for the retailer last October. Media buying and all other advertising are handled in-house.

For the new effort, Best Buy is running two 30-second spots on both national cable TV and on spot TV in more than 75 markets nationwide. Both are tagged, "Just the store you've been shopping for."

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