Wednesday, April 22, 2009

LG Goes Hollywood

by Todd Wasserman, Brandweek

Y&R campaign casts stars like Justin Timberlake, Heidi Klum and Hayden Panettiere

NEW YORK LG has racked up U.S. market share for its mobile phones by putting its ego aside and letting carriers like Verizon and AT&T get the glory, but a new high-profile push aims to inject some star power into the brand.

LG, working with Young & Rubicam, is launching its largest-yet campaign in the U.S. and linking with Justin Timberlake, Heidi Klum and Hayden Panettiere as well Paramount’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in an attempt to raise its profile.

The effort includes two focused campaigns. The LG Xenon phone, aimed at social networking-happy Gen Yers, will get a TV, print and online campaign featuring 19-year-old Heroes star Panettiere and placement in Timberlake’s MTV series The Phone. That effort breaks this week.

Meanwhile, a push begins next month for the Rumor2 phone, targeted at “style-conscious teens and young adults.” It will be highlighted in a campaign featuring supermodel and Project Runway host Heidi Klum, who designed custom backplates for the phone. The Transformers tie-in, hitting along with the film in June, is part of a partnership LG announced with Paramount on April 1 that includes placement in the film for its Versa phone. LG had a similar deal last year for Paramount’s Iron Man.

The deals were meant to underscore LG’s brand positioning, which Ehtisham Rabbani, the brand’s vp of product strategy and marketing, said is all about self-expression. “The big difference for us going forward is you’ll see a greater emphasis on using specific models to highlight the brand as a whole,” said Rabbani. “The idea is how can you best help the consumer express themselves? That’s the evolution of where we’re heading.” Rabbani said he believed it was difficult to create a strong bond with consumers with one overarching message.

The campaign comes as the U.S. phone handset market has changed radically over the past few years. LG now has about 22 percent market share in units. LG and Samsung now control more than 50 percent of the market.....

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