Big Online Push For Pioneer’s Project Kuro

Anybody willing to spend big bucks for a new Pioneer plasma display is also going to own a computer or two and spend lots of time online.

With that in mind, the thinkers at TBWA/Chiat/Day are devoting a hefty chunk of Pioneer’s ad budget toward online efforts, said Cathy Saidiner, global accounts director at the Los Angeles agency. A new Web site and all kinds of interactive ads are being rolled out as part of Pioneer’s new “Project KURO” global advertising blitz.

Saidiner said the campaign will include “a strong interactive presence.” In fact, Pioneer is investing more money on online elements than ever because its targets, described as “discerning entertainment junkies,” are likely to know their way around the Internet.

“Our target, this entertainment connoisseur, is a fairly high income, media-savvy person who spends a lot of time online,” said Saidiner. “We definitely see the value in that investment.”

Part of the online element of the campaign is a new Web site at seeingandhearing.com. The landing page features a somewhat spooky black-and-white image of an iris, haunting sounds and clickable, floating, fuzzy dots of light. Saidiner said the online aspects “will use the overall campaign visual that integrates seamlessly with the look and feel of the campaign, and will showcase the ads plus deliver product information people need.”

The campaign budget also includes a “pretty significant online paid media investment,” said Saidiner. That will consist of rich media and experimental ad units that campaign’s emotional aspects.

This is TBWA/Chiat/Day’s first year working with Pioneer, and Saidiner believes the campaign is probably Pioneer’s must unusual. “It’s definitely the most category-busting,” she said. “It’s different than any approach they’ve taken in the past and very different from what the others in the category are doing… We really wanted to separate Pioneer from the rest of the competition and make sure we were really communicating to their target audience what they stand for as a brand.”

Pioneer’s broader campaign is pushing a new logo, a new slogan — “Seeing and Hearing Like Never Before” — and a purposeful lack of color, since the Pioneer displays’ purported ability to produce the darkest of blacks is central to the campaign. KURO, according to Pioneer, is a Japanese word for deep blackness.

Saidiner said a goal was to highlight the new displays and position them as an “expression of Pioneer’s premium approach to products.” But the agency did not want to do this by relying — as do many other consumer electronics manufacturers — on high-tech jargon, numbers and specifications.

“People go to movies because they love them and like to be entertained,” said Saidiner. “They want an emotional experience. Our desire was to tap into that emotion rather than the technical aspects of the product.”

The result is a portfolio of mostly black-and-white TV, print and Web ads that make little or no mention of the usual screen resolution figures and refresh rates. Instead there are close-ups of smiles that morph into eyeballs with mouths for retinas.

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