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Poehler riffs on Best Buy for Super Bowl

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NEW YORK -- Best Buy Co. has enlisted actress and comedian Amy Poehler to get its brand message across in a humour-focused spot during the Super Bowl XLVII.

The Minneapolis-based electronics chain said Jan. 23 it will air a 30-second spot featuring Poehler, fresh off from her gig co-hosting the Golden Globes earlier this month, in the first quarter of the big game, which airs Feb. 3 on CBS.

The ad will convey a branding message and comes as the electronics retailer works on a turnaround plan to combat tough competition from online retailers and discounters. The spot will be supported by a social media component, and a second ad will air after the game detailing several special offers.

A Best Buy executive said Poehler's frank humour dovetails with Best Buy's marketing message.

"Because of the complexity of technology today, folks have lots of questions," said Scott Durchslag, president of online and global e-commerce. "Amy is this comedic everyperson who can make things simple. And Best Buy is trying to accomplish the same thing -- making technology simple."

Celebrities are a popular way companies try to ensure that their ads stand out during the Super Bowl, advertising's largest showcase. Thirty-second ads cost around $4 million, but that hefty price tag brings lots of eyeballs. Last year, 111 million viewers tuned in to the big game.

Other celebrities slated to appear in ads this year include Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco in a Toyota ad, Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson in a Milk Processor Board ad and Korean rapper PSY in a spot for Paramount Farm's Wonderful Pistachios, among others.

Best Buy has been facing tough competition from discounters and online retailers, as people browse electronics in stores and then go home to buy them more cheaply online, a practice known as "showrooming." To combat this, it has instituted a cost-cutting program, revamped stores and invested in more employee training.

It has also included Super Bowl ads in its marketing budget for the past three years. Last year, Best Buy's Super Bowl ad featured inventors of popular smartphone apps like Square, Angry Birds and Instagram. In 2010, Best Buy's Super Bowl ad also featured celebrities, this time the unlikely duo of Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osbourne.

Best Buy said it won't reveal the content of this year's ad before the Super Bowl, but added that Poehler was an active collaborator.

"It was kind of a riffing, improv sort of style within a script framework," Durchslag said. "She had a lot of creative control, and I'm really glad we did it that way because we got to a place we never could have gotten to on our own."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 24, 2013 C16

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