Roxy.com is the latest entrant in the crowded field of consumer electronics competitors ranging from Amazon.com to Value America -- all gearing up for the traditional fourth-quarter sales push.
The effort, via Gotham, New York, marks Roxy's first large-scale brand campaign and includes network and cable TV, print, radio and online advertising.
Roxy since 1996 had advertised primarily via banner ads on venues such as ESPN, Yahoo! and MSN sites.
'READY FOR PRIME TIME'
"We've spent 31/2 years building our infrastructure and now the company's ready for prime time," said Keith Clougherty, Roxy.com chairman and founder.
The campaign will try to differentiate Roxy from the pack by stressing the depth of its product expertise and customer support.
"We want to try to demystify the shopping experience," Mr. Clougherty said.
The campaign includes two 30-second TV spots that introduce Niedermeyer, an iconic, geeky personality designed to tap into consumers' nostalgia. One of the spots shows a '70's era classroom with students viewing a film on human reproduction until the TV dies, leaving nothing but snow on the screen. The class yells for Niedermeyer, the class geek, to fix the TV. The tag: "Roxy.com. Electronics without the static."
The message is "that Roxy really knows electronics and can help, and that our job is to get you the right product," said Michael Jeans, president-CEO.
Print ads will show a telemarketer wearing a headset answering callers' questions about consumer electronics products with headlines such as: "No, MP3 is not a rocket launcher," "PCS is not public television" and "No, DVD is not a social disease."
MATCHING PRODUCT, NEEDS
Roxy has expanded its product selection and will offer everything except computers and computer accessories. It also offers 30-day, no-questions-asked product returns, arranges product pickups through United Parcel Service of America, supplies online or offline order status, and provides an inside-the-box welcome kit and extensive presale qualification. Roxy boasts its 24-hour-a-day in-house customer service operation will find the right product and value for each consumer.
"What we really try to understand is what the customer's needs are before we match up a product," Mr. Jeans said.
The site offers a design-your-own feature and will soon have an option that allows shoppers to customize and outfit a virtual room in their home.
Executives said they're confident Roxy can handle the traffic and orders this quarter. The company leverages its relationship with Fingerhut, which owns about half of Roxy, to gain efficiencies in distribution and fulfillment.
Fingerhut, a direct marketer owned by Federated Department Stores, has gained Web fame for handling distribution for powerful players such as Wal-Mart Stores