Philips to Auction Bulbs from Times Square Ball

Royal Philips Electronic is leveraging its position as the supplier of light bulbs for the famed New Years Eve Ball above Times Square to launch a multi-brand cross promotion, with a dash of charity thrown in for good measure.

Philips will hold an online charity auction on eBay to sell off the light bulbs used to illuminate this year’s ball, with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. This will be the last year Philips will use halogen and incandescent bulbs. It’s LED, solid-state lighting for next year’s ball. The company hopes this “end of an era” will stir interest in the bulbs as collector’s items, according to Paul Zeven, CEO of Philips Electronics North America.

“New Years is an ideal opportunity for people to pause for a moment and contemplate the upcoming year,” Zeven said in a statement. “We see this ‘pause’ as an opportunity to help consumers spread goodwill.”

The auction, part of the company’s “Next Year is brought to you by Philips” ad campaign, will take place from December 30, 2005 to January 6, 2006 on the company’s microsite, Bidders can choose from halogen bulbs from the exterior of the Waterford Crystal Ball, or from multi-colored and strobe lights from the interior. All listed bulbs will be authenticated with a production number etched in the bulb and an accompanying letter of certification.

On its New Year microsite, Philips also provides a form for users to share their New Year’s resolutions, which can be forwarded to a friend or shared with the world in a “living globe” of resolutions that will be visible for the first week of the year.

Individuals who post resolutions can also register to win one of the bulbs used in Times Square for the New Year’s celebration.

Philips has used interactive media in the past for branding its consumer electronics and B2B electronics products. In May, the company kicked off a $100 million global campaign that included online ads, search, and a microsite for its “Sense and Simplicity” brand message

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