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$30 Million TV Campaign Is Company's Largest In Years

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NEW YORK ( -- Zenith Electronics Corp. takes a page from Star Wars in a new TV campaign breaking today promoting
Zenith's new plasma screen HDTV ads happen inside an intergalactic battle cruiser.
its 60-inch plasma high-definition TV.

A new movie trailer-style spot, in a 15- and 30-second version, is loaded with digital special effects and animation.

Intergalactic voyage
In the commercial, a family in a spaceship taking an intergalactic voyage sits transfixed as it watches huge aliens and killer monsters on Zenith's crisp-looking 60-inch screen. The father says, "I told you this thing was awesome," referring to the HDTV. The spot ends with the tagline: "Digitize the Experience."

The $30 million ad and marketing campaign, created by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Avrett Free & Ginsberg, New York, aims to position Zenith as an authority on digital HDTV and showcases a variety of the company's HDTV-enabled products.

The company said the $30 million marketing effort is its "largest national advertising presence in decades." Zenith spent $14.8 million in measured media in the U.S. in 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. It

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spent less than $1 million in 2000 and $3.4 million in 1999.

TV and print
The spots will run on broadcast networks, while print ads will appear in consumer lifestyle and entertainment publications, including Time Inc.'s Time, Entertainment Weekly, Money and Sports Illustrated. A series of ads is planned with Gannett's USA Today, along with an HDTV programming guide that will be included in the newspaper's TV listings.

The effort also includes a significant Internet component: Consumers can go to Zenith's Web site,, and enter their ZIP code to access a listing of all the HDTV programming available in their area.

Sponsoring HD programming
The push is meant to coincide with the start of the fall network braodcasting season. Zenith is sponsoring the majority of high-definition programming offered on Viacom's CBS network like Everybody Loves Raymond and the new CSI: Miami and all of the prime-time HDTV programming on Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, including new ABC shows such as Push, Nevada and Life with Bonnie, and returning shows NYPD Blue and The Practice. Select programs in high definition will be branded with Zenith's logo in the opening credits.

More than 80 of CBS owned and affiliated stations are broadcasting in digital. That number is expected to grow to more than 100 stations, reaching more than 83% of the country, by year-end. ABC was the first major network to broadcast in digital high-definition in 1998 and broadcast the majority of its 2001 schedule in HDTV.

The Consumer Electronics Association projects that 2.1 million HDTV-enabled sets will be sold in 2002; 4 million in 2003 and 10.5 million by 2006.

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