Justin Bieber ... and Ozzy? ... to star in Best Buy Super Bowl ad

Justin Bieber and Best Buy — two megabrands mutually in search of image change — are about to combine on the biggest stage of all: the Super Bowl.

Best Buy today will announce plans to feature teen heartthrob Bieber — along with elder rocker Ozzy Osbourne— in the first Super Bowl commercial for the nation's largest home electronics chain.

"Justin Bieber is the biggest star out there, but that's not why he's in the spot," says marketing chief Drew Panayiotou. "He symbolically represents something important to the brand message."

For Best Buy, it's a strategic attempt to move beyond its big-box retailer stereotype. With consumer interest in TV purchases declining even as mobile and tech-related interest grows, Best Buy wants to evolve into more of an Internet technology expert and service provider. And it wants to skew younger.

For Bieber, the 16-year-old wunderkind with nearly 20 millionFacebook followers and 7 million Twitter followers, it marks a serious bid to move beyond the world of tween heartbreaker.

Executives won't discuss details of the 30-second spot featuring stars from two very different generations. The ad, to air in the game's third quarter, was filmed earlier this month at Universal Studios.

"Very rarely do you get a big brand looking to evolve into something else," Panayiotou says. "We want to get this brand to a different place."

It won't just be with a Super Bowl spot. Best Buy will run more Bieber ads and Facebook updates through 2011.

Best Buy declined to say what it's paying Bieber. But it's at least $1 million, estimates Noreen Jenney Laffey, president of Celebrity Endorsement Network, which links celebs with advertisers. "Justin Bieber is hotter than hot," she says. "Clearly, the ad will get attention."

But what kind of attention? Some brand experts are skeptical of the match.

"If Best Buy wants to be known for its IT services, it's hard for me to see how Justin Bieber is a match," brand guru Martin Lindstrom says. "It's one of the most awkward relationships I've heard of in a long time."

For that matter, Bieber and Osbourne are not likely to appeal to a traditional Super Bowl audience, says Alissa Quart, author of Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers. "They are both fish out of water in what we imagine a Super Bowl ad should be: babes and beer."
Source: usatoday.com


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