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PACKARD BELL KICKS OFF TV BLITZ; PART OF FIRST MAJOR AD CAMPAIGN BY HOME PC LEADER

By Published on .

Packard Bell today begins a TV campaign that's part of an estimated $15 million to $20 million blitz through yearend. It marks the first major media advertising for the world's largest home PC marketer.

Until now, Packard Bell has relied on price-and-item retail co-op ads to attract consumer and retailer interest to its value-price PCs. The marketer is keeping the co-op program, but it's adding traditional advertising to build its brand and reach consumers who don't look at retailers' Sunday circulars.

`INVESTMENT IN FUTURE'

"This is very much an investment in the future," said VP-Marketing Mal Ransom. "Branding programs aren't short term; business isn't short term. We think the value of this type of program and the programs that will follow will be returned over the years" in increased sales.

Packard Bell's U.S. measured media spending last year totaled just $36,800-vs. $27.9 million for IBM Corp.'s Aptiva home PC line, according to Competitive Media Reporting. But with the new campaign, Packard Bell will be one of the largest-and possibly the largest-home PC advertisers during the holidays.

It's primarily a branding campaign, though there are some product messages. The campaign started late last month with newspaper ads, and then outdoor ads broke in 26 markets (AA, Sept. 29). The media buy now moves to TV.

DIVERSE TV SCHEDULE

That effort is a series of 60-second spots and then :30s getting a diverse day, prime-time and late-night schedule on network and cable. The ads' theme is "Wouldn't you rather be at home?" with visuals showing what can be done with home PCs. Packard Bell is positioned as a leader.

Ads start in November issues of 24 magazines, including Home PC, Martha Stewart Living, Newsweek, People, Time and Wired.

The campaign was created by recently hired M&C Saatchi agency, New York, which plans to open a service office in Los Angeles. Western International Media, West Hollywood, Calif., handled media.

The campaign also will run in France, Singapore and the U.K.

This effort follows the merger of Packard Bell Electronics and NEC Corp.'s PC business into Packard Bell NEC, providing a cash infusion to boost the aggressive, low-margin PC marketer.

Because of its massive co-op advertising and broad retail presence, Packard Bell has name recognition trailing only IBM's and Apple Computer's in the PC market, Mr. Ransom said.

"We know that we have an outstanding brand awareness. We do not have a particularly high advertising awareness," he said.M

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