Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, December 12, 2021

Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed new TV ads running for consumer electronics chain Sound Advice. As you’ll notice if you click through to their website, Sound Advice is owned by Tweeter Home Entertainment Group; and in fact, the TV spots I’ve seen have noted the affiliation.

My question: Since Tweeter intends to mothball the Sound Advice name by next year in favor of the Tweeter brand for all its stores, why are they blowing marketing dollars on this new campaign? Especially since Tweeter is rolling out a brand-new “Entertainment Architects” campaign to further promote the expanded company.

I’ve noticed a similar tack was taken by Cingular with regards to its acquisition, AT&T Wireless. Earlier this year, for several months after the merger between the two companies was completed, advertising for AT&T Wireless continued to be introduced, despite the intent of replacing the brand with Cingular’s. I was scratching my head over that, too. (More recently, new ads finally have been rolled out that publicly announced the combination of the two services.)

In both cases, it doesn’t make much sense. The usual goals for a marketing campaign — building name recognition, growing the customer base — simply don’t apply for brands that are slated for the axe. If anything, I’d think the preferred course would be to de-emphasize the departing names, not giving them a boost (however temporary) through new ads.

The only thing I can think of is that the acquiring companies want to squeeze out an extra little bit of equity from the established company names. Even this strikes me as a negative play, or even a bait-and-switch. Assuming a potential customer would never consider going with Cingular (or Tweeter) because of bad associations, and therefore would look more favorably toward AT&T Wireless (or Sound Advice), it’s a shaky consumer pickup: It relies on ignorance on upcoming operating procedure, and will probably result in a pissed-off customer after the transition is completed.

Another possibility is that there were already campaigns in the pipeline before both mergers were announced and completed, and rather than burn off that money, decisions were made to use them. That doesn’t seem terribly likely, given the timeframes in each case (several months, ample time to adjust for advertising and marketing plans).

I don’t pretend to know everything about the ad/marketing business, and I guess this is one area I’m in the dark about. That two different acquisition/merger situations would result in similar marketing disconnect indicates some sort of strategic thinking that I’m overlooking. If the likely-imminent Sprint-Nextel wireless merger produces the same sort of thing, then I’ll really be curious.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 12/12/2021 06:09:05 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business | Permalink |

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