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Vizio Blu-Ray Player: an America's Hottest Brands Case Study

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Vizio Blu-Ray Player
Five years ago, the Vizio brand was a newbie in the high-definition TV space. By early 2009, it was the No. 1 selling LCD brand in the U.S.

But the goal of the U.S.-based company was never to be a major player just in the TV industry; it is to be a household brand across the consumer electronics space, said Jason Maciel, director of marketing at Vizio.

This year, the now not-so-upstart company introduced a portfolio of products. Its Blu-ray player is not only a natural companion to its high-definition flat panels, but it also moved the brand into the underserved emerging Blu-ray market.

The player was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January for under $200 to the surprise of show-goers, consumers and most other brands who were then still selling at $299 and above. The player debuted this summer at $188 at Vizio's stalwart retail partner, Walmart.

"The Vizio brand has enough elasticity to now carry over into other consumer electronic products much like a Sony or Samsung ... especially continuing to convey that message of high quality at very aggressive pricing," said analyst Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group.

Vizio's marketing budget is small, and while it uses cheaper tactics, like billboard packaging, reviews and close relationships with retailers for distribution and display, it also has gone to mass media when warranted. Vizio advertised on the Super Bowl this year, but only because, as Mr. Maciel said, it was "an amazing deal at an unbelievable price" offered in the final days before the game.

Jason Maciel
Jason Maciel, director of marketing, Vizio
Vizio is also committed to being creative with its media, for instance, recently becoming title sponsor of a new Fox Sports Net TV show, "Vizio Profiles," a 30-minute show profiling different NFL players each week. Mr. Maciel said, "It's a good way to connect to avid sports fans, the people who are buying our products."

A recent video spot for its LED TV line is generating an unexpected swell of publicity and the company has generated media buzz with its Internet-connected TV line.

"For us, it's just common sense, and I don't mean that in an arrogant way," Mr. Maciel said. "We produce products people want to purchase, not products we want them to buy."

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