MAGNAVOX JUMPS INTO DVD FRAY: PHILIPS' ADS TAP MOVIE THEATERS AS IDEAL VENUE

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Philips Electronics North America Corp. joined the digital videodisc fray last week, introducing its Magnavox DVD player via a campaign that includes the category's first in-cinema advertising.

Philips will air 60-second spots on 1,100 screens in the U.S. starting this week. The campaign also includes two :30s that broke last week on network and cable TV.

Philips is "the first of the new television technologies to utilize the cinema," said Dennis Fogarty, president-CEO of Screenvision Cinema Network, which sold the theater ads to Philips. The buy gives Philips category exclusivity on the Screenvision network.

`THE PERFECT VENUE'

"Because DVD is the ultimate movie-playing machine, [theaters] are the perfect venue to advertise in," said Mike Keel, VP-advertising for Philips.

DVD systems play movies from a CD-size disc with higher quality than a VCR. Philips follows such marketers as Panasonic Consumer Electronics Co., Toshiba America Consumer Products and Sony Electronics into the category.

Spending on the overall campaign was undisclosed, but Mr. Keel said the marketer is giving its DVD player "significant support."

Ads feature the same "wise man" seen in previous Philips-Magnavox spots this year for WebTV and Velo.

Don McLoughlin, Philips account director at Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York, the agency that handled creative, said the character provides a link between the past and the future of technology.

"He's essentially the storyteller of the spots," Mr. McLoughlin said. "He's what the product represents."

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