Best Buy launches Summer Hub

How does a retailer like Best Buy build build awareness in the digital world for consumer products like cameras and GPS devices? It’s not like you can test a camera on a website.

Enter the Best Buy Summer Hub.

Built with my employer, Avenue A | Razorfish, the Best Buy Summer Hub employs rich media, snappy graphics, and a Facebook application to help consumers learn how consumer electronics devices can make summer more fun. The hub provide vacation tips relevant to six primary categories that people enjoy during summer: the beach, hiking and camping, the backyard, travel, sports and activities, and the road trip.

For example, in the “backyard” section, a brief video clip explains how you can create an outdoor theater in your backyard by using a bedsheet for a screen and a video projector with a built-in DVD player. I like how the tip is shared, too. A member of the iconic Best Buy “blue shirt nation” team quickly shares the tip accompanied by an image of the type of projector that would work best. She doesn’t perform a hard sell, either — she suggests you can borrow this equipment from your office, not just buy it.

(One suggestion: I realize it’s probably too expensive to do, but I’d love to hear some authentic songs of summer playing in the background as I visit the site, like “Soak up the Sun” by Sheryl Crow or the classic “Summer” by War.)

I think the digital trip journal is pretty cool, too:

Just click on the icon running at the top of the Summer Hub screen, and you are taken to Facebook, where you can load this application on your profile. From there, you can create a customized journal of a vacation and invite your fellow Facebook friends to keep track of your experience.

Of course, you can upload digital photos, too, which sounds like standard operating procedure at first blush. But think about it for a moment: instead of trying to sell you a digital camera, Best Buy creates a fun reason for you to want to own one and use it.

I actually just started a digital journal. Trust me: if I can do it, anyone can.

So why should you care about the Summer Hub? Because it’s one example of where marketing is headed: not pushing a message or a product at consumers but providing a captivating experience, usually one with emotional appeal.

We live in a world where consumers suffer from a massive case of ADD. We skim content briefly all over the digital world, snacking on small morsels of information and entertainment from digital video, blogs, websites, and portals. And we multi-task, too. (In fact, I’m toggling between email and a video while I write this bog.) How can even the most smartly crafted 30-second message reach us anymore? So ironically marketers are going in the opposite direction by creating entertaining and fun destinations where we won’t mind spending time with their brands.

That’s where experiences like the Summer Hub come into play: they’re not about overt messaging. The company branding is more subtle. Best Buy is banking on the chance that we’ll be engaged enough to spend some serious dwell time with the Best Buy brand and eventually buy a product online or in-store. Sure beats getting beat over the head with a loud banner ad.

2 thoughts on “Best Buy launches Summer Hub

  1. Pingback: jeff lanctot » Blog Archive » Best Buy’s Summer Hub

  2. Nice stuff David. I especially like the family backyard approach instead of the tech single approachI see so much in electronics

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