DALLAS -- Texas Instruments Inc. wants to get its DSP message in front of chip customers so badly that it is launching a $20 million advertising campaign to splash TI ads on cable television as well as Internet sites and non-trade publications.
The move doubles TI's advertising spending and aims to reach the company's core semiconductor customers--engineers, software developers, and business managers at OEMs--when they probably least expect it. TI's "DSP Momentum Campaign" will run during sporting events, history and arts programs, and news coverage on cable TV. The first TV ad will appear on ESPN during Saturday's college football game between Purdue University and the University of Michigan.
The ads will focus on new and emerging applications for digital signal processors and related analog/mixed-signal ICs. These applications include Internet audio, digital cameras, cellular phones with video capabilities, and other uses for TI's DSPs and analog technologies.
Unlike other semiconductor advertising on TV, the Dallas company is not attempting to promote a corporate image or even the end equipment products to consumers. TI advertising managers insisted that the $20 million advertising campaign is not similar to Intel Corp.'s highly successful "Intel Inside" ads that tell consumers to watch for the microprocessor supplier's logo on the sides of PCs.
"This is not a consumer pull strategy, nor is it an image campaign," said Jean Wilkinson, vice president and manager for worldwide communications at TI, which is the world's largest supplier of programmable DSP chips. "It is very much directed at building our customer base and bringing in new customers."
TI does not intend to move any advertising from the electronics trade press to support the new ad campaign, which will run through next May. TI commercials will appear on cable TV an average of 75 to 100 times a week. Ads will also run on Internet sites specializing in sports, business news, travel, and other areas of personal interest to professionals influencing chip design-ins and contracts.
"These professionals are people, and in addition to reading the trade and business, they are going to the television, other print media, and the Web for entertainment," Wilkinson said.
Cable TV and the growth of special interest programming have opened up a new opportunity to reach design engineers, software developers, and managers from systems companies that use DSP and analog ICs, she said. The cable TV programming targeted by TI's ads include: the Discovery Channel, ESPN, CNNfn, A&E's "Biography" series, MSNBC, "Larry King Live," and the History Channel.
TI's ad campaign will also run in the general business press, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and Scientific American as well as universitry publications.
TI will not break out the percentages of spending between the cable TV, Internet, and print publication in the DSP campaign. "We have a careful mix of these three media: cable TV, print, and the Internet," Wilkinson said.