Respected Companies 2005’” PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Financial Times,, (accessed October 13,2011).51. Form of promotion thatfocuses on getting a companyor product mentioned in anewspaper, on TV, or in someother news media.52. Communication activitiesundertaken by companies togarner favorable publicity forthemselves and their products.Chapter 9 Marketing: Providing Value to Customers9.5 Promoting a Product487
Marketing RobosapienNow let’s look more closely at the strategy that Wow Wee pursued in marketingRobosapien in the United States. The company’s goal was ambitious: to promote therobot as a must-have item for kids of all ages. As we know, Wow Wee intended toposition Robosapien as a home-entertainment product, not as a toy. The companyrolled out the product at Best Buy, which sells consumer electronics, computers,entertainment software, and appliances. As marketers had hoped, the robot caughtthe attention of consumers shopping for TV sets, DVD players, home and car audioequipment, music, movies, and games. Its $99 price tag was also consistent withBest Buy’s storewide pricing. Indeed, the retail price was a little lower than theprices of other merchandise, and that fact was an important asset: shoppers werewilling to treat Robosapien as animpulse item—something extra to pick up as a giftor as a special present for children, as long as the price wasn’t too high.Meanwhile, Robosapien was also getting lots of free publicity. Stories appeared innewspapers and magazines around the world, including theNew York Times, theTimes of London, Timemagazine, andNational Parentingmagazine. Commentators onThe Today Show, The Early Show, CNN, ABC News, and FOX News remarked on it; itwas even the talk of the prestigious New York Toys Fair. It garnered numerousawards, and experts predicted that it would be a hot item for the holidays.At Wow Wee, Marketing Director Amy Weltman (who had already had a big hit withthe Rubik’s Cube) developed a gala New York event to showcase the product. Frommid- to late August, actors dressed in six-foot robot costumes roamed the streets ofManhattan, while the fourteen-inch version of Robosapien performed in venuesranging from Grand Central Station to city bars. Everything was recorded, and filmclips were sent to TV stations.Then the stage was set for expansion into other stores. Macy’s ran specialpromotions, floating a twenty-four-foot cold-air robot balloon from its rooftop andlining its windows with armies of Robosapien’s. Wow Wee trained salespeople tooperate the product so that they could help customers during in-storedemonstrations. Other retailers, including The Sharper Image, Spencer’s, and Toys“R” Us, carried Robosapien, as did e-retailers such as Amazon.com. The product wasalso rolled out (with the same marketing flair) in Europe and Asia.