Best Buy Initiates Bold, New
Marketing Push for MD

Daryl O. ([email protected])

In the boldest move yet of any major American retailer, Best Buy is this summer re-setting the merchandising layout of its 287 stores to accommodate 24 to 28 feet of new retail space exclusively designated for minidisc. This marks the apogee of a five-year commitment to the burgeoning new format by America's leading consumer electronics retailer. Best Buy is the country's largest seller of minidisc hardware, boasting stores in 32 of the 50 American states.

The keystone of Best Buy's new merchandising reset for minidisc is an eye-catching interactive television display that is to be placed prominently on a racetrack-facing endcap in the Home Audio department. The display will feature a 19" television set hooked up to a laserdisc player that will play repeatedly a commercial poking fun at the audio cassette's many shortcomings and highlighting MD's compelling virtues. Customers who'd like to learn more about the minidisc would then have the option of selecting three tracks that would explain in detail the advantages of minidisc's digital recordability, unique editing functions, and portability. To choose any of the three tracks, a customer merely has to push a red, backlit button beside the picture denoting the feature in which he's interested. The three-button panel will be located below the television, and above the three icons will be the alluring message, "CD Quality And More. Check It Out." Further encouraging customers to delve further into the wonders of minidisc, the side panels of the display will feature the intriguing slogan, "Think Of The Possibilities," a message the customer would certainly take to heart as he walks down the minidisc-dedicated aisle....

In the first three 4' sections adjacent to the MD endcap display will be three MD systems -- the Aiwa XR-H3MD shelf system, the Sharp MD-X5 shelf system (successor to the MD-X3), and the Sony MDBundle4, featuring the new MDS-JE510 home deck and MZ-E40 portable player. The Aiwa system will sell for $599; the MD-X5, for $499. If that's not enough to whet the customer's appetite, he'd need to look only one section further to Best Buy's showcase of minidisc portables -- the Sony MZ-R30, MZ-E40, and the MZ-F40. Above the three displays will be a sign that will read, "Experience The Power Of Minidisc." There will also be a sign drawing the customer's attention to the Sony MDX-C150 minidisc car deck.

Select stores will have, following the portable display, one section that will have all MD accessories, including Maxell recordable minidiscs and MD cleaners, and various optical cables and carrying cases. (Other stores will have the accessories merchandised over the MD systems.) Topping off the new MD aisle will be a single section of pre-recorded MD titles, housed now in a special rack designed especially for MDs.

Throughout all five to six sections of minidisc product will be coloured 8 1/2" x 11" graphic promotional signs highlighting MD's strongest-selling features. One particularly adorable sign will picture a cartoon minidisc on wheels, illustrating MD's extreme portability. One could perhaps also imagine the picture to be of an MD that is unrelentingly on the move and picking up steam in its quest to unseat the antiquated audio cassette as consumers' audio recording medium of choice.

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