Retailer Takes Back TV, Radio

Consumer electronics retailer Tweeter is bringing the broadcast portion of its $30-35 million advertising business in-house.

The move signals the end of a five-year relationship with Atlanta’s BaylessCronin.

Canton, Mass.-based Tweeter already handles its own print, outdoor, in-store, interactive and direct mail marketing.

Casey Media in Braintree, Mass., will continue to handle the dealer’s media planning and placement, sources said.

Agency chief executive officer Tim Bayless did not return calls at press time.

“Economies of scale are driving our decision,” said Anne-Marie Boucher, public relations director for the fast-growing chain.

Tweeter’s revenue is expected to nearly double from $406 million in 2000 to approximately $800 million this year, the result, in part, of a series of mergers and acquisitions.

The company consistently spends 7 percent of its annual sales on marketing, Boucher said. The budget includes the sponsorship of four concert venues across the country.

Tweeter operates 149 stores in 19 states. In recent years the company acquired Atlanta-based HiFi Buys, Sound Advice in Dania, Fla., and Showcase Entertainment of Phoenix. Sound Advice remains a wholly owned subsidiary, while HiFi Buys’ outlets in Alabama and South Carolina now operate under the Tweeter banner.

No rebranding decision has been made on HiFi Buys’ Atlanta stores, Boucher said, because “the brand equity is so strong.”

The client’s move comes as a particular blow to Bayless, whose distinctive voiceover (” … Audio, video and a boatload of know-how”) has defined Tweeter’s home entertainment merchandise in hundreds of radio spots targeting consumers throughout the U.S.

“There’s a lot of equity in Tim’s voice,” said Boucher. “But we’ve made a significant shift from radio as our primary advertising to television and radio.”

Doppler Studios in Atlanta produced Tweeter’s radio commercials for the past five years, wrapping intros and taglines around a basic spot built around Bayless’ laid-back dialogue with two store managers from HiFi Buys.

“Tweeter’s setting up a production facility and a creative team,” said a source who worked on the account. “Some executives up there have got the notion in their heads that ‘we can do this stuff ourselves.’ We’ll see about that.”