Q&A: Philips’ Online Film Earns Kudos

NEW YORK Since launching three weeks ago, a Web film depicting a bank robbery gone awry for Philips’ new super-premium television has generated nearly 300,000 unique visits to www.philips.com/cinema and Twitter shout-outs from the likes of Ashton Kutcher. The 2 minute and 19 second film uses frozen action and a long-tracking shot to illustrate the cinematic qualities of the product, now only available in Europe.
Adweek senior reporter Andrew McMains discussed the online effort Friday with Philips head of integrated marketing communications Gary Raucher and Chris Baylis, a creative director at Philips shop Tribal DDB in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Adweek: Why was a Web film the way to go for this product?
Raucher: We’ve had quite some experience in trying to promote our Ambilight range of televisions. And what we have learned over that period of time is that seeing is really believing. . . . If people don’t actually have the opportunity to actually experience Ambilight on and Ambilight off and now with the launch of Cinema 21 by 9 don’t have the opportunity to experience the difference between watching a television in 21 by 9 [aspect ratio] versus 16 by 9 format, people really don’t understand what they’re missing. So, we thought that due to the success of the Ambilight player — something we launched a few years ago, where we really saw that people were spending a lot of time online, interacting with content, experimenting with the Ambilight function going on and off and then realizing how much they missed Ambilight once it was gone — we wanted to be able to reach as many people and drive as much traffic to this new player as possible. That’s why the whole strategy was to use different channels to try to drive people online, so that they would have the opportunity to really toggle back and forth and see for themselves.
Baylis: The reason we went for a film and a cinematic experience online is that the TV is very much aimed at film lovers. It’s a film lover’s TV set, so we knew that we were going to have to create something for the Web that was also going to pull in a film-loving audience. It really had to feel like an event that people wanted to talk about, would want to go and see.
Adweek: Because Cinema 21:9 isn’t available everywhere, did that inform your decision to not go heavy into mass media for this campaign?
Raucher: It was more a matter of in these economic times we wanted to make sure that we reached people in the most efficient way. We wanted to minimize any waste. So, we really decided to pick a medium where we knew we’d be able to target the people smartly and that we’d be able to give them a great experience. It was a more cost-effective way for us to deliver our message.
Adweek: How important is online to your marketing mix and how has that increased in the last five years?
Raucher: It continues to increase. In fact, just today [Friday], in 22 markets around the world, we’re launching a value campaign. Typically, we invest about 10 or 15 percent of a campaign budget online. For the value campaign, it will be closer to 40 percent. So, I think that the Web has in fact become a very important tool for us. It’s always part of our integrated mix. We develop all our campaigns with a 360-degree approach, using multiple agencies in what we call a loop approach to make sure that there’s full integration. Online always plays a critical role. And given the success that we have had with previous campaigns, it gives us more and more confidence to invest more heavily online with this campaign and also with future campaigns.