NEW YORK Panasonic is hitting the road and asking consumers to tune into the first Olympic Games being broadcast entirely in high-definition video.
The Japanese consumer electronics maker today launched a promotional campaign that involves a nationwide tour of custom-built trucks carrying the message: "Get Your Family Ready for the First HD Olympics." The fleet includes a 53-foot flagship truck that will visit retailers across the U.S. and will offer autograph signings by leading Olympic athletes like swimmer Mark Spitz and gymnast Kerri Strug.
Also during the tour, Panasonic will hand out limited edition Olympic Games pins and offer consumers a chance to win its Viera HDTVs by playing Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. For additional prizes, visitors to the trucks will be able to enter the "Get Your Family Ready" sweepstakes, which kicks off today and runs through the end of the Olympic Games. They also can visit www.panasonic.com/olympics to enter the sweepstakes online.
"The world's athletes are getting ready to come together and compete at the Olympic Games this summer and Panasonic is helping families get ready to come together and watch them," Christine Amirian, vp of Panasonic's Consumer Marketing Group, said in a statement.
The vehicles, which have been rebranded and redesigned for the Olympics, were previously used for Panasonic's "Living in HD" tour that launched last year in search of families' digital lifestyles. The "Living in HD" program was created to understand how people's lives change as they become aware of HDTV and aid Panasonic with future product development, according to the company.
Panasonic will supply various HD video and audio technologies to this year's Olympics, taking place in Beijing, China, in August. They include recording equipment, VCRs, system cameras and TV monitors.
Panasonic decreased its ad spending from $90 million in 2006 to $50 million last year, excluding online, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.