LG Electronics India recently launched a new range of televisions featuring Artificial Intelligence (AI) ThinQ. Following the introduction of Google Assistant early this year, LG is now delivering more choices and options with the addition of Amazon Alexa and Apple AirPlay 2 capabilities to its 2019 TVs with ThinQ AI. The new range includes various models under its Smart, LED, Ultra HD (UHD), NanoCell and OLED AI ThinQ Televisions.
BestMediaInfo.com spoke to Abhiral Bhansali, Product Head, OLED and UHD TV, LG Electronics, to know more about the new product range and their marketing strategy and spends.
Digital marketing is where the brand will allocate maximum marketing spends but will also go for in-store branding. Apart from that, they will go for in-store experience zones to provide live experience to customers as to how AI services such as Google Assistance and Alexa works.
First tell us about the new range of televisions LG has launched and their unique selling point?
It is all about our 2019 line of products that we are launching in India. Our aim is to take LG’s AI technology, launched last year, to the next level by incorporating AI Smart, AI Picture and AI Sound, and provide convenience to the customer. With this new product range, we are incorporating AI apps such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa with ThinQ AI.
This makes LG the only TV brand to provide support for both leading AI platforms without the need for additional hardware. The new televisions can understand hundreds of voice commands and handle requests of greater complexity than ever before, thanks to the more advanced LG ThinQ AI conversational voice recognition technology.
Using Alexa Routines, users can link together a series of actions — such as controlling their smart lighting, reporting on the weather, or listening to daily horoscope using skills like Ganesha Speaks by simply saying ‘Alexa, start my morning’. They can also play music or listen to audio books and take advantage of over 20,000 Alexa Skills already available on the Alexa Skill Store.
LG already had smart televisions. Then why did the brand think of synergising the AI technology? Was it the need of the hour?
LG’s endeavour has always been to improve the product technology keeping in mind the customer in the centre of the innovation. We believe AI’s role is to improve the output by analysing the content. When we say that we are launching AI TV, I mean AI Picture will help improve the overall picture quality. Suppose, we are watching a news channel, so AI picture will enhance the picture quality and clear voice in a different way. And in case we are watching a music channel then AI technology will enhance bass, make treble adjustments, etc. Since the Alpha 9 processor has got billions of database, it enhances the picture quality and sound according to the content type.
With Alexa already built-in, new updates and features for the voice service will continue to be available to LG AI TV users. Viewers can instantly connect to external gaming consoles and soundbars by saying, ‘Alexa, connect to soundbar’ or switch to picture mode by saying ‘Alexa, change to cinema mode’ or even turn the TV off at set times.
How many models have been launched today? And in which production facility will the new range be manufactured?
Right now, we are launching 30 models in India under various categories — OLED, NanoCell and UHD TV. As part of LG’s core philosophy of ‘Make in India’, the new range of televisions will be manufactured at our Pune facility.
The products will be available at LG retail stores, across the country, within a week’s time. While the prices of smart TV start at Rs 24,990, UHDs are available Rs 55,990 onwards. The NanoCell range starts from Rs 90,990 and OLED range will be available from Rs 2,49,990.
What are the marketing and distribution plans for the new products?
We are marketing LG AI television as ThinQ AI product. We are very strong in digital marketing. However, since every market is different, especially from regional perspective, we will leverage those events, e.g. currently, we are strategising plans for Onam and targeting Kerala.
Are any ad campaigns being planned for this new product range? Is LG planning to rope in any celebrity as brand ambassador? What TG is LG targeting?
TV itself is a brand ambassador. It doesn't require any influencer to communicate the message. Of course, there will be very strong marketing campaigns, including TVC, digital and in-store branding.
We have this technology available from 32 to 77 inch screen size in OLED. We are targeting millennials and tech enthusiasts because the AI technology will make their life easier.
What marketing/advertising spends has LG has allocated for this particular launch?
I cannot comment in terms of actual value. But we have got a very good marketing plan. July onwards, we will leverage on events such as cricket, Onam, Durga Puja, Diwali, etc.
What is the lead medium of communication for you? TV, digital or print? Percentage wise, how much do you distribute on advertising spends?
Nowadays, digital marketing is where we are allocating our maximum marketing spends. But as an organisation we also believe in in-store branding. We will spend a good amount in showcasing these products in stores, explaining the technologies to the consumers. So, it will be a mix of digital marketing, ATL and BTL.
Apart from that we are creating in-store experience zones for our customers in association with our partnering brands — Amazon, Alexa, etc. — to provide live experience to the customers as to how the AI services such as Google Assistance and Alexa works. We are creating stores connected to data so that we can show customers ‘live’ how AI services can really help them.
Tell us something about the association with Alexa and Apple.
This year, for our new product line, we have entered into a partnership with Amazon Alexa voice. Together, Amazon and LG will promote this feature to the consumers.
Will the new product range be available on online retail stores?
We are not differentiating the product to be sold online and offline. Apart from brick and mortar stores, the entire range will be available on online retail stores such as Amazon and Flipkart.