By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Pioneer today launched its Project Kuro eight-generation plasma range, which will be supported by a $1.5 million advertising campaign – the company’s largest-ever media spend.

The range of four panels adds technological improvements over the previous models, but perhaps the most significant change with the Kuro generation panels is Pioneer’s go-to-market strategy.

Pioneer will for the first time offer a clear two-tiered approach within the Kuro range, launching its standard 42-inch (RRP $4,699) and 50-inch (RRP $5,699) panels alongside a premium – and limited-distribution – LX series, comprised of a 50-inch (RRP $7,499) and 60-inch (RRP $11,999) model, both with 1080p resolution.

Different with this generation is also the brand’s approach to marketing.

“We want to walk to the beat of a different drum and that is really about generating some value within the category,” said Pioneer marketing manager, Mark Anning.

 “We are not going to go out and drive the overall category size, we want to drive the premium segment of the category. For those people who do value the picture quality and all the things we see as important, we can certainly help the retailer extract value for the product. That’s really our mandate, as an organization we want to have a premium branding strategy.”

So tailored will Pioneer’s high-value sales strategy that it considers its potential market somewhere in the realm of just 200,000 Australian consumers.

Pioneer Australia will fall in line with a global Kuro marketing campaign which has been devised by the TBWA agency, which counts Apple among its clients and iPod as one of its success stories.

TBWA has come up with some striking black and white visuals for its advertising creative, based around Pioneer’s new tagline: ‘seeing and hearing like never before’.

With an advertising budget like never before, Pioneer will rollout magazine advertising, outdoor promotion on billboards and bus shelters and in-store merchandising.

While the standard Kuro panels will replace the current seventh-generation models, the flagship LX series unveiled today will target what Pioneer calls “conisumers” – discerning technology connoisseurs for whom money is no object.

“The interesting thing with our LX series products is that most of our communications will be spec-less. What I mean by spec-less is, it’s not about the measurements now, it’s about the experience; it’s about you either get it, or you don’t,” said Anning.

The LX series will also be applied to home theatre products such as receivers, Blu-ray players and DVD recorders.
With all of its Kuro panels, Pioneer’s key message is strong blacks and colours due to its superior image processor, ASIC, and a redesigned, Japanese-made plasma panel.

All models will be available from October.