SonicBlue Plays Hide-and-Seek to Find New Customers

SonicBlue has something to hide from consumers.

In a print ad campaign begun last week, the consumer electronics manufacturer plays a game of hide-and-seek with consumers in which one participant will win SonicBlue's newest portable sports model digital music player.

In three print ads, which began appearing in the December issues of numerous magazines, SonicBlue hid the titles of three songs for each ad. Consumers looking to win the digital music player must locate the songs, then list them on SonicBlue's Web site to enter the sweepstakes.

SonicBlue, Santa Clara, CA, has three main brands: Rio, which includes its digital music products; GoVideo, comprising its DVD/CD and VHS players; and replaytv.

Though the campaign promotes the entire line of Rio products, the creative highlights its two newest portable digital music players, the Rio S35S and the Rio S50, said Ann Holland, SonicBlue director of marketing communications.

The campaign's theme is “Bring it.” Holland said the idea is to convey that music can help people through some of life's toughest challenges, and that a portable MP3 player lets them have their music with them anywhere.

One ad portrays a woman preparing to exercise. Beneath the image is the headline “Class Reunion in 5 weeks. Bring it.” The second ad has a man sitting in a dentist chair with a headline that reads “Four fillings and a root canal. Bring it.” The final ad is a man with a lawnmower standing in a yard of high grass under the headline “86 percent humidity. 12 acres to go. Bring it.”

All of the songs hidden within each picture relate to the image portrayed, Holland said.

Once players find the songs, they list them on a page within the SonicBlue Web site. To enter the sweepstakes they provide their name, e-mail address, gender and birthdate. They can request periodic product updates from SonicBlue.

Each person in the ads has a Rio MP3 player strapped to their arm or in their hand. The bottom of each execution has four images of Rio MP3 and digital music players. Text briefly discusses how music can help people through different challenges and how Rio can provide consumers with endless hours of music with “no skipping CDs.”

Consumers are directed to buy a player at or a selected retailer.

Targeting a young, athletic and music-loving demographic, SonicBlue is placing ads in various magazines including Vibe, Spin, Maxim, Men's Fitness, Strength and Alloy Girl.

Holland said it intentionally left out any mention of the sweepstakes on the print ads and that the promotion for the sweepstakes takes place solely on the Web site.

“The primary goal of the campaign is to promote the brand and new products,” she said. “The sweepstakes is an added value for us, and people can learn about it on the Web site.”

Creative for the entire campaign was done in-house.

The online component will include banner, pop-up, interstitial, tower and skyscraper ads appearing on more than 40 network and music-oriented sites.

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