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Justin Timberlake and Peyton Manning offer TV advice in Sony push

SAN DIEGO - It's what every consumer secretly wants -- advice on what TV they should buy from the likes of pop star Justin Timberlake and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning who do just that in a campaign for Sony Electronics.

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Created by Sony's ad agency 180 Los Angeles, the TV ads show Timberlake and the Indianapolis Colts star as members of a panel of celebrity "experts" in retail environments where they assist consumers in choosing Sony products by differentiating the brand from its competitors.

In one spot featuring Timberlake and Manning, the duo help a family shop for a television set in an electronics store.

When the father looks at a wall of units and says he sees no difference, the wall opens to reveal the panel of experts.

Timberlake and Manning show off their skills at ping-pong as they discuss the superior quality of watching sports on Sony's Bravia HDTV.

Timberlake says: "The more sports you watch on a Sony the better you get at sports."

Manning responds by saying: "My Chinese has improved too."

After beating Manning at ping-pong, Timberlake says: "Your Mandarin is rusty at best."

The spot ends with the tagline: "It's in our DNA."

Sony said the panellists "resonate with a broad swath of US consumers". The other members of the panel include ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, fashion photographer and 'America's Next Top Model' judge Nigel Barker, author and comedienne Amy Sedaris, Nonsociety.com co-founder and columnist Julia Allison, and cinematographer Dion Beebe.

Sony hopes the campaign will attract consumers to its products during the holiday season in the fourth quarter.

Stuart Redsun, senior vice president of marketing at Sony, said: "All talent were chosen for their high public profiles, and because like Sony, they are leaders in their respective fields.

"Quality is a message consumers most associate with Sony, so we feel confident our campaign message will strongly resonate in the marketplace, especially given that quality is the number one purchase driver for consumer electronics."

The creative concept is an expansion of the company's 2008 HDNA campaign, which also featured a panel of celebrity experts who served as brand ambassadors.

However, this year's campaign features more celebrity panellists, as well as more product categories, including the Bravia television line, Blu-ray Disc home entertainment systems, Cyber-shot digital cameras, alpha digital SLR cameras, Handycam camcorders, VAIO notebook computers and Sony Reader digital books.

Starting in September and running through early 2010, the campaign will feature across TV, print, radio and online.

Other campaign elements include a SonyStyle.com showcase site, as well as customizable microsites for retailers.

The campaign comes as Sony UK drafts in rock star Alice Cooper for an ad campaign encouraging consumers to trade in their TV sets before the switchover to digital-only broadcasting in 2012 renders them worthless.

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