What’s wrong with this picture?

As its sales slow and market share stalls, TiVo is turning to an interesting solution. The original Tivo_logo ‘commercial killer’ announced it would be launching a $15m advertising campaign to reach prospects. Say what? The ‘advertising antidote’ is turning to advertising to create awareness?

TiVo’s decision will erode its core brand promise and, in my opinion, only confuse less savvy consumers rather than encourage them to purchase the technology.

I’m always fascinated to see the marketing strategy a generic brand like TiVo (think Walkman, Kleenex and Xerox, among others) employs when it sees competitors benefiting from name association. In almost every case, it seems well-meaning executives push the wrong button.

If I were running TiVo, I’d opt for a comprehensive viral campaign that included everything BUT advertising. I’d hit consumers in expected and unexpected ways and in retail venues not cluttered by competitor’s wares (think: Best Buy).

TiVo’s challenge is an interesting one: when a first mover sees other, more consumer-friendly technologies (think cable DVR pay services, for example) gnaw away at market share, what should they do to shore up their image and reputation? For TiVo, a counter-intuitive advertising campaign may seem smart, but I, for one, will be fast forwarding past any commercials I see from them.

2 thoughts on “What’s wrong with this picture?

  1. Not sure why you’re clueless about the blog’s premise. If TiVo exists to kill TV commercials, why would they employ the same medium to create awareness? The smarter way would be to reach consumers who already hate intrusive advertising and connect with them in smarter one-to-one ways. I’ve seen the Kaplan Thayer spots. Let’s just say they’re not worth TiVo’ing through the programming to view.

  2. My handle notwithstanding, I’m having a difficult time appreciating the premise of the argument you present in this blog. You seem to be suggesting that the primary purpose of TiVo is to eliminate commercials and accordingly, it is disingenuous or “counter intuitive” for TiVo, to utilize commercials to increase market share. In a word: “huh?” My understanding is that the primary purpose and selling point of TiVo was and is: to facilitate the digital recording of one or a series of programs for future enjoyment at one’s leisure. In any event, I’ll take you word for it that TiVo exists primarily for the purpose of killing commercials and offering an antidote to poisonous advertising. That said, what better way is there than commercials to promote TiVo’s primary purpose? To wit: “Isn’t this add annoying? Don’t adds in general suck? Want to avoid this and other adds like it in the future? BUY TiVo!” Repman, a television advertising campaign promoting the add-killing benefits of TiVo would only be counter intuitive if the adds were directed at owners of TiVo who utilize its add-killing feature. You know I just might have to disable my TiVo, I can’t wait to see what Kaplan Thayer comes up with.