Panasonic signs Shirvo for multi-million dollar plasma promo

By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: As Panasonic prepares to sell its last CRT television in Australia this month, the company will step up its flat panel TV promotion with a new multi-million dollar marketing campaign featuring star Australian Olympic sprinter, Matt ‘Shirvo’ Shirvington.

Panasonic consumer electronics director, Paul Reid, said today the brand’s CRT business, which has operated in Australia since the 1960s, will wrap up this month with a final 51cm model, ending an important era for the company.

But Panasonic is now fully committed to flat panel technologies and will continue with its strategy of plasma TVs for screens 40 inches and larger, and LCD in smaller screens, said Reid.

Shirvington will become the face of the multi-faceted campaign, which will kick off on May 20 and encompass television commercials, Sunday metro newspaper pull-outs, online and in-store promotion – all starring Shirvington promoting the benefits of plasma in large-screen TVs, particularly for fast moving action like the 100 metre sprint.

“Large-screen plasma televisions are ideal for watching sport due to their fast motion response times, so Matt Shirvington, as a well-known and successful athlete, is an excellent spokesperson for Panasonic plasmas,” said Reid.

“Matt has also presented on Channel Seven’s science and technology program Beyond Tomorrow, so he has an understanding and enjoyment of technology that is a good fit for his role in the campaign.”

Shirvington has signed a two-year contract allowing Panasonic to ramp up its promotion in the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, which is traditionally a peak buying time in the television market.

Key to the marketing campaign is recent research commissioned by Panasonic into Australian consumer flat panel TV preferences, which the brand says came out strongly in favour of plasma for big screen TVs.

Conducted in March by Synovate, the research invited 344 Australian consumers to compare the picture quality of a plasma and LCD, with 69 per cent of participants backing plasma as the better big-screen technology.

“We area a manufacturer of both LCD and plasma panels, so we are certainly not trying to denigrate LCD technology, but we want consumers to go into retail stores and ask the right questions and understand which is best for them,” said Reid.

“As well as informing consumers of the key image attributes for optimal viewing in the home, our campaign will also aim to educate consumers to consider lighting conditions when they go to purchase a new TV. Most electronics stores have very bright fluorescent lights, so a plasma will look different in these conditions compared to the home environment.”.

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