By Craig Zammit and agencies

SYDNEY: Philips CEO Gerard Kleisterlee has played down the potential boost in sales from events including the FIFA World Cup, despite investing millions of dollars in sponsoring the event and launching a significant consumer promotion through 400 Australian retailers.

At the Philips annual shareholders meeting in Amsterdam last week, Kleisterlee told Reuters that “the days when many people bought a new television ahead of a big event are over.”

“There are simply too many big events these days,” Kleisterlee said.

Despite its CEO’s comments, Philips Consumer Electronics Australia said that as a global sponsor of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the Dutch company’s local subsidiary will be looking to increase sales of its plasmas, LCD TVs and DVD recorders in the build-up to the event through a unique consumer promotion.

The promotion will be held throughout 400 stores nationally including Harvey Norman, The Good Guys, Bing Lee in New South Wales and Retravision Western Australia.

From 1 April until the World Cup Final on 9 July, anyone who purchases a Philips LCD, plasma or DVD recorder will be given a scratch card guaranteeing them a redeemable prize.

Prizes include five ‘Ultimate Home Theatre’ packages, consisting of a 50-inch Philips plasma, HD set top box, and DVD recorder with 160GB hard drive.

Other prizes such as FIFA inflatable beer lounges and FIFA footballs are up for grabs, with authentic FIFA World Cup merchandise being displayed in stores throughout the promotion.

“We have very high expectations for this promotion. We can bring to retailers a promotion nobody else in the market can offer, for a sporting event that has never been more highly anticipated in this country. It’s also a great chance for our partners to get into the spirit of the World Cup with totally unique in-store displays,” said Philips Consumer Electronics Australia sales and marketing manager, Matt Moran.