How Electronics Giant and MTV Asia Merged Products and Content

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SINGAPORE -- Philips has expanded its sponsorship of an Asian reality series, MTV Whatever Things, which it developed with Viacom's MTV Networks Asia to promote its portable consumer electronic devices.
Philips products are integrated throughout the shows and related contests.

The show features MTV's Aiya! team performing edgy, outrageous stunts across Asia. For the second season, which launches in November, MTV and Philips expanded the weekly series from 10-minute segments to a half-hour format.

Market share increase

Despite the collaboration's emphasis on goofball stunts, it has also had a serious impact on sales of Philips products, according to the company. In China, Philips' largest market in Asia for portable products, it had a 2.5% market share before the series was launched. One year later, its market share there is up to 3.4% and sales volume exceeded Philips' internal forecast last year, an increase the electronics giant partly credits to the show's popularity in China.

The program was created in mid-2002 as a direct spin-off of Philips' "Personal Expression" campaign, featuring the tagline "Things to do your thing."

"Within that campaign, we inspire people to do creative out-of-the-box things. So we approached MTV just over a year ago and developed the show MTV Whatever Things to show crazy things that youth are up to," recalled Chris Lee, Philips' Singapore-based director of marketing for Asia/Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

Targeted youthful consumers

"From a brand standpoint, we wanted to do a collaboration with MTV in Asia revolving around portable consumer electronics devices like mobile phones," Mr. Lee said. "They are targeted at youthful consumers, so it makes sense to partner with MTV."

Although Philips' TV spots air during the program, "there is subtle incorporation of our product message between
Philips products are integrated throughout the shows and related contests.

transitions from one segment to another. And from time to time the Aiya! gang perform stunts and goofball activities using Philips products," Mr. Lee said.

For example, when Philips launched a USB drive last year in Asia that incorporates MP3 player technology, the show featured a man break-dancing at a bus stop in downtown Hong Kong during rush hour while listening to music through his Philips USB drive. Upcoming episodes will depict Aiya! team members taking photos with Philips products while skydiving and bungee jumping.

The second season also features a regional "MTV/Philips Whatever Things Show Host Contest," in which Hong Kong heartthrob Edison Chen, the Aiya! team frontman, searches for a co-host. Contestants will use Philips products to complete some of the challenges.

Shopper area events

The Dutch consumer electronics giant also participates in events across the seven Asian markets where the series is aired via MTV's Southeast Asian feed as well as MTV Philippines, MTV Indonesia, MTV India and MTV China. The events usually take place in high-traffic shopping areas and feature MTV VJs, as well as booths where consumers can test Philips products and enter games to win Philips products.

The series is part of a three-year collaboration between Philips and MTV, and is the marketer's only alliance in Asia where it is helping develop content with a regional channel.

"We're still in the process of evaluating data, but where the show runs we're getting a lot of positive feedback from trade partners and consumers. We hear comments from them like 'Philips looks like more relevant brand' and 'Philips is now really in this century.' These are very positive qualitative results," Mr. Lee said.
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