SPIKE LEE DIRECTS PHILIPS' YOUTH PITCH ;GLOBAL APPEAL, SANS THE U.S., GOES HOLLYWOOD IN RE-BRANDING

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Philips Electronics goes Hollywood this month with a product-specific international campaign directed by Spike Lee, the maverick U.S. movie director, in a re-branding effort to appeal more strongly to the youth market.

TV and print ads by Philips' global ad agency Euro RSCG GBHR set in New York's financial district, Wall Street, focus on audio products featuring new Philips-customized technology dubbed "Incredible Sounds."

The campaign, breaking in Asia, Latin America and Europe, covers portable and non-portable audio products that appeal to young people, including compact disk players, mini and "micro" hi-fi systems and in-car systems.

The commercial will break on MTV Asia, around a specially-created series of short programs sponsored by Philips called "Out of the Box," before running on national TV channels in Latin America and Europe.

"The Incredible Sounds technology creates the impression that the product is using more than [the conventional] two loud-speakers," said Mathieu Lorje, director of sound and vision, Philips' audio-visual products division, responsible for marketing communications worldwide.

Philips is also trying to reinforce its profile as the only European consumer electronics goods marketer able to challenge dominant Japanese marketers like Sony.

The TV spot, in :30 and :60 versions, is set outside Wall Street's big financial companies as bustling executives rush to work. Nearby, a group of young people have fun playing music aloud on Philips' portable systems. Unable to resist the infectious sounds, the business folk also start dancing as a voice-over observes: "Incredible Sounds on Philips testing humans."

The ad builds on Philip's first global corporate campaign, running for the last year themed, "Let's make things better."

Despite using a famous American director, Philips won't be running the new sound and audio products campaign in the U.S., the only major market to be left out. The omission highlights the dilemma of would-be global marketers whose brands are still less global than their ambitions. In North America, Philips uses the brand name Mediavox for sound and audio products and feared consumers would be confused. So the company plans a gradual transition, to Philips Mediavox next year then dropping Mediavox.

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