Pioneer creates HDTV loft for journalists

Pioneer Electronics has set up a Manhattan loft for a six-month project to entertain and educate journalists about high-definition television [HDTV] and its home theatre and plasma screen products.

Pioneer Electronics has set up a Manhattan loft for a six-month project to entertain and educate journalists about high-definition television [HDTV] and its home theatre and plasma screen products.

The loft features low-, middle-, and high-end systems in a simulated apartment setting. The company used a Talk of the Town Video, an electronics installer, and Metropolitan Produce Corporation, an interior designer. Pioneer also prominently displayed home theatre and stereo control products from Crestron and the Microsoft Xbox, which were the result of informal relationships, according to Julie Law, account supervisor at GCI Group, which is Pioneer's AOR.

The company has already entertained technology, business, and consumer journalists for its opening night and its second night, which was the final game of the World Series. Additional parties planned include entertaining women's magazine journalists for the season premier of the Fox drama The OC, high-end home magazines for a wine-tasting party, and the men's magazine crowd for sporting events like the Super Bowl.

"We want to bring as many different people in as possible and get them to experience the technology in different ways," Law said. "We then have the experience tailored to the crowd and environment."

Pioneer has a lease for the space for six months and will reevaluate the strategy after the termination of this lease. Law has overseen the planning on the loft space. She is working with 10 other team members from GCI's Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco offices. Shannon Kalvig, a New York-based account supervisor, will also help with the day-to-day functions. The team members, individually or as a group, came up with different events to tailor to specific groups of journalists. GCI has approximately 20 events lined up, with a target of 8 to 20 journalists per event.

Additionally, Law said Pioneer planned to use the project for sales and marketing efforts by bringing vendors and clients to the loft.

"The media research we've done [has shown there are] a lot of confusing messages about HDTV, so part of the goal is to help bring HDTV to life and communicate how you can get it to your home," Law said. "Many reporters don't have the capacity to review a plasma in their home; we wanted to allow them to experience the technology in the home environment."

Amy Friend, the LA-based director of PR for Pioneer who was in New York for the World Series event, said she hoped the loft would help Pioneer be a part of that HDTV discussion.

?There?s a lot of news coverage about HDTV, in general, and I?d like to make sure we?re included in more of that news coverage,? Friend said.

GCI has been the AOR for Pioneer since June 2000.

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