12.13.04-1 QUANTUM'S NEW AD CAMPAIGN FROM BUTLER, SHINE & PARTNERS

If you operate a small, privately-held, innovative tape drive business, now is the time to attack Quantum's DLT business. Jackie Finch director of marketing communications and John Butler creative director at Quantum's ad agency have provided you with all the information you need to attack and dislodge Quantum in a press release issued December 07, 2004. See, Quantum has been getting it's ass kicked in the tape drive business. In it's latest EDGAR filing Quantum reports:

"The decrease in tape drive revenue in the three and six months ended September 26, 2004 as compared to the corresponding periods of the previous fiscal year primarily reflected lower unit sales.... This reflected intense competition, less demand from our key OEM customers, and that the customer qualifications and the corresponding product sales ramp for the latest generation Super DLT drive, the Super DLT600, have taken longer than we had anticipated."

Over the years I have had a fair amount of exposure to and experience in the storage industry. Selling fixed and removeable storage solutions is a tough business driven by engineers who are driven by commodity pricing practices. The storage biz has generally been feast or famine. One of the few storage company's to get the marketing right was IOMEGA in the mid-nineties with ZIP disks and drives. And it appears as if Quantum is trying to take a page from the old IOMEGA playbook by turning to it's ad agency to rev up sales. According to John Butler in the December 07, 2004 press release:

"I believed it was time for DLT to take a more hard-hitting stance against its competition," said John Butler, creative director at BSSP. "We wanted this campaign to creatively break through the usual clutter in the storage advertising space and I believe we succeeded in doing just that. The campaign is fun, extendable and relevant."

Jackie Finch in the same release offered her take on the new campaign:

"The TESTED BETTER campaign combines unexpected visual humor with hard-hitting competitive messaging," said Jackie Finch, director of marketing communications, Quantum Storage Devices Business Unit. "This unique combination has given us the ability to easily and effectively extend the creative throughout our entire marketing mix -- from the website, to our collateral materials and even our tradeshow presence."

OK... so it sounds like the agency is telling the client to take a more hard-hitting stance against the competition with a campaign that is fun(?), extendable(??) and relevant(???). I'm not sure what fun, extendable or relevant has to do with hard-hitting competitive messaging. The campaign does include a direct comparison between Quantum and it's major competitors which appears to be at the core of the "TESTED BETTER" tag line. But I'll be damned if I could find any comparisons on the new web site except for this which was buried deep and very cryptic in its presentation.

In addition to laying out their creative strategy for all to see the press release goes on to tell the world where they will be running their ads, how many ads they will be running, and for how long:

"The print ads are currently running in industry trade journals like InfoWorld, Storage and Network World, and corporate publications including HP World, Dell Power Solutions and IBM Total Storage Magazine. The ads will run through the end of the fiscal year and are expected to deliver 35 million impressions for the DLT brand."

So if you are a direct competitor to Quantums DLT business, they have been nice enough to tell you their creative strategy, their messaging, where they will be running their ads, how many ads they will running and for how long. And you can bet they're following traditional advertising doctrine which means they will not change any of this messaging or media buys. I would be fascinated to find out if the folks at Quantum and their agency gave any thought to competitor responses ala the "three set move".