Consumer buying a flat panel TV pre the Beijing Olympic Games are set to be the big winners after Sony kicked off what looks set to be a brutal giveaway war between Panasonic, Samsung and Sony with their free 35,000 Sony PS3 giveaway promotion.
Set to respond to the Sony offer are Samsung and Panasonic who according to Company officials are set to match the Sony offer. Meanwhile JB Hi Fi Marketing Director is dismissive of the Sony promotion claiming that he is not certain as to whether their promotion will drive traffic through retailer’s doors.
Both Samsung and Panasonic have said that they are well prepared to match and out do Sony when the time is right.
According to Kurt Jovais, Olympic sponsor Samsungs Director of Marketing, “the lead up to events like the Olympics is traditionally a high sales period, so we are not surprised by Sony’s offer”. In fact, says Jovais, “We have an equally compelling offer coming up, which we will be announcing over the next few days”.
Furthermore, Jovais is somewhat dismissive of Sony’s deal, and notes that “they will be pushing something in the market that many people have – we on the other hand will be soon announcing an initiative on an item very few people know about”.
In fact, Jovais notes that “Sony have completely disregarded the over 50-year age group, few of who are much about the PS3 but are a large and important buying sector for HD TVs”.
In terms of the retail side of the equation, Scott Browning, marketing director of JB HiFi noted that, “anything that raises sales in the current economic climate is a good thing”, although he too was somewhat cool on Sony achieving stratospheric results, as he noted that “events such as the Olympics are a proven sales growth cycle and whether this will increase overall retail spend remains to be seen”.
Browning also pointed out that Sony has had similar marketing drives recently, around December/January and the actual impact on the market was debatable.
And as to whether this will mean more customers through JB’s doors, Browning was unsure whether that would happen and “we will have to wait and see”.
Another Olympic sponsor, Panasonic also seemed not to be loosing much sleep over the Sony deal and in fact was almost upbeat about it. MD Steve Rust was philosophical about the PS3 giveaway, saying that, “we have planned well in advance the potential offers by our competitors and are well prepared in that respect”.
Asked as to whether Panasonic was going to soon announce their own spectacular deal, Rust would neither confirm nor deny such an options, and only said “we have planned and anticipated these kind of scenarios well in advance”.
On top of that, a number of vendors who wished not to be named, said that the last time Sony had such a giveaway, there were inventory issues, and noted that this may well occur again.
Regardless, the winners here will be the consumers- spoilt for product choice at a time when TV viewing will be at record highs.