Best Buy Goes Live On WBZ-TV

Live commercials have not been in vogue since the early 1960s, but the novelty still appealed to WBZ-TV and Best Buy Co., the Minneapolis retailer that last week launched its first stores in New England.
The CBS-owned station in Boston, through its client marketing group, planned to air at least nine live commercials between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. last Friday. Ads promote Best Buy’s grand opening at the Shoppers World mall in Framingham, Mass.
The 45- and 60-second spots were set to be hosted by former talk show host Eileen Prose, who would interview shoppers and store staff, said Pat Kreger, business development manager of the client marketing group.
Kreger declined to disclose the budget, and the client could not be reached for comment.
The idea has merit, especially for retail clients, said Phil Balboni, president and general manager of New England Cable News. “Stores have prices and things that change, and sales go on,” he said. “You can go in and look around at the merchandise, talk to the manager. You can be creative.” Balboni and his staff considered live retail spots but, as yet, “we never really took it out into the marketplace” to gauge advertiser interest, he said.
The live spots are part of a multimillion-dollar in-house ad blitz introducing Best Buy–one of the nation’s largest retailers of electronics, computers and appliances–in the New England market. Commercials featuring an actor dressed as a blue-and-gold “idea box” and the tagline, “Best Buy: Now that’s a great idea!” have been airing for the past few weeks.