Tiger Electronics is seeking to carve out a small niche in the music industry with a new line of tween-targeted minichips and players called HitClips that are set to launch in early August. ‘This is a way of expanding our presence into pop culture,’ says Tiger VP of corporate communications Marc Rosenberg. ‘Music is such a big part of kids’ lives these days that we have to get involved in a significant way.’ The size of a postage stamp, each chip contains a 60-second sampler of a hit song, including Britney Spears’ Oops!. . . I Did it Again and No Strings Attached by boy band `N Sync. To spin the tunes, kids ages seven to 16 can choose from three miniplayers: HitClips Micro Player, HitClips Rockin’ Micro Boombox and HitClips Alarm Clock.
Although the line will primarily be sold at mass and toy outlets like Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target, KB Toys, Toys `R’ Us and FAO Schwarz, Tiger will also launch the HitClips products into music chains. However, Rosenberg is quick to stress that Tiger does not intend to set HitClips up as direct competition for CDs. ‘We’re not trying to steal singles business away from the record labels,’ he explains. ‘Labels traditionally tend to go after an older teen audience, while our products have always skewed more tween. Our businesses are really complimentary-we’re pioneering a new medium that will introduce younger kids to their artists and music, so that when the kids are ready to start buying CDs and making music decisions, they’re already loyal listeners.’
Retailing for between US$3.99 and US$4.99, Tiger is hoping that the chips’ low pricepoint will trigger a collecting and trading frenzy. ‘Kids can control these purchases and that’s key to driving collectibility,’ says Rosenberg. Pricing for the players also falls well within an average kid’s budget, with the Micro Player going for US$7.99, the Boombox for US$9.99 and the Alarm Clock for US$15. Rosenberg say the HitClips products were also designed to fit into kids’ on-the-go lifestyle by clipping onto backpacks and clothing and fitting easily into bags and lockers.
In addition to inking a deal with the Zomba record label for the use of Britney Spears and `N Sync, Tiger has also signed a similar agreement with Atlantic Records for Norwegian duo M2M and a new band called Dreamstreet. Rosenberg says Tiger is also negotiating with several well-known music biz producers, including Charles Koppelman, to help scout new talent for HitClips recordings.
Tiger is also looking to offer kids an affordable alternative to MP3 technology in late August with the launch of a co-branded Yahoo HitClips Downloader. This product can be plugged into a computer speaker jack to record any sound recognized by the computer onto two-minute blank minichips. ‘In addition to letting them get new music, we expect kids to record funny sounds stored on their computers and make mixes.’
To get the word out about the HitClips lineup, Tiger is embarking on its largest promotional effort ever-a major TV ad campaign by agency Posnick & Kolker that will break in time for back-to-school. Details of the initiative are being kept under wraps for now. To stir up some more buzz before the holiday season, Tiger has a fourth quarter on-pack contest planned with Lunchables whereby kids can win a set of all the players plus the Yahoo HitClips Downloader. The sweeps will be featured on 15 million packs of the lunch snacks.