Best Buy Uses the Big Game Stage to Focus on Mobile Technology

Sun Feb 5, 2012 7:01pm EST

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Retailer pairs ad that features ground-breaking tech pioneers with a unique mobile phone offer to tout its influence in the mobile technology space

MINNEAPOLIS (Feb. 5, 2012) - Tonight Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) is using the world's biggest stage to celebrate mobile technology by using true tech pioneers to assert its growing influence in the mobile phone business. The campaign kicks off with Best Buy's second appearance in the Big Game as well as a special week-long offer for anyone looking to upgrade to a new phone at Best Buy in 2012

Best Buy's commercial reveals 10 technology innovators who have changed the way we use our phones and culminates with Best Buy's own contribution to the process. From iconic apps like Words With Friends, to innovations we can't live without like SMS messaging, Best Buy is putting a name and face to these unsung, yet amazing rock stars of mobile technology whose inventions impact billions of people around the world every day.  Each of these innovators also is featured in longer-form videos that premiere online tonight and are available for viewing at (http://www.youtube.com/bestbuy).

"Consumers give us credit for being a technology brand that helps people get the most out of their devices," said Drew Panayiotou, senior vice president of U.S. marketing at Best Buy.  "Showcasing innovators like Philippe Kahn, who created the camera phone, and Jim McKelvey, who introduced the notion of mobile payments, first in our ad and then in longer-form media made sense.  It allows these inventors to move from tonight's spot to a format where they can share more about technology and how it might impact all of us in the future."

To coincide with the mobile-centric ad, any customer who registers and then upgrades to a new mobile phone at Best Buy by Dec. 31, 2012 will receive a $50 Best Buy gift card.

The offer is simple:

  • Step One: Consumers register their phone number at www.bestbuy.com/phonefreedom by Feb. 12, 2012
  • Step Two: Consumers activate the registered phone number with the purchase of a new mobile phone with a two-year agreement at Best Buy or BestBuy.com any time before Dec. 31, 2012
  • Step Three: Upon purchase and activation, customers will receive their $50 Best Buy gift card

There is no obligation once a phone number is registered. Customers must register their phone number online between Sunday, Feb. 5 and Sunday, Feb. 12 to qualify.

"We are thrilled to have a stage as significant as the Big Game to showcase all that Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile have to offer," said Shawn Score, president of Best Buy Mobile. "We have spent the last five years building and improving the mobile phone buying experience in our stores, and we are confident in our ability to deliver a world-class experience that features any carrier, any phone, any plan combined with unbiased advice."         

The $50 gift card offer is valid on Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile phones activated with a new two-year agreement at Best Buy or online at BestBuy.com (excluding T-Mobile activations requiring a deposit).  Once signed up, consumers will have until the end of the 2012 calendar year to purchase a new mobile phone at Best Buy and receive their gift card. If they don't activate a phone within that time period, the gift card offer simply goes away.  For full terms and conditions, visit www.bestbuy.com/phonefreedom.  Not valid in Puerto Rico.

Best Buy's Big Game spot was created by agency CP+B and directed by Wayne McClammy. It was shot in 6 locations in 3 countries. The innovators featured in the spot include:

Philippe Kahn - created the camera phone and MotionX

Philippe Kahn is a technology innovator and entrepreneur who has founded four successful technology companies. Kahn is married to Sonia Lee, who he co-founded Fullpower/MotionX LightSurf and Starfish Software with. They have a daughter Sophie whose memorable camera-phone first pictures dates her birth to June 11th, 1997. Together, Lee and Kahn run an environmental charity, the Lee-Kahn Foundation.

While at LightSurf Technologies, Kahn developed one of the first camera phones. His team at LightSurf built the first end-to end solution for picture messaging, and was the first to share pictures instantly on public networks. LightSurf's core technology, the LightSurf 6 Open Standards MMS Platform, allows users to capture, view, annotate and share multimedia messages with any handset or e-mail address. It was the first commercially deployed inter-carrier MMS solution in North America, with over 400 million media messages shared on Sprint's network. In 2005, LightSurf was acquired by VeriSign. 

Ray Kurzweil - invented text-to-speech

Kurzweil was the principal developer of the first CCD flatbed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of re-creating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition. Ray has written four nationally best-selling books. His latest book, The Singularity Is Near, was a New York Times bestseller, and has been the #1 book on Amazon in both science and philosophy. He was awarded the National Medal of Technology, has received 19 honorary doctorates, and received awards from three U.S. presidents. KurzweilAI.net, his website on future technology, had more than 2.3 million unique visitors in 2011.

Text-to-speech is utilized on mobile devices by enabling the reading of information for a visually challenged person, or it may be used to augment the reading of a text message or email. It is often used with voice recognition to answer questions.

Neil Papworth - sent the first SMS message

Papworth is currently a software architect at Tekelec in Montreal. A graduate of Thames Valley University, he has been involved in product architecture and software engineering at technology companies for over 20 years. 

Papworth is credited with sending the first SMS text message. While working with Sema Group in Newbury, England at age 22, Papworth sent his historic greeting to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone, during a Christmas party. Since cell phones were not yet designed to type out and send individual letters of the alphabet, Papworth sent "Merry Christmas" from a computer keyboard. It took some time for cellphones to evolve into send/receive capability.

Paul & David Bettner - created Words With Friends

Paul and David Bettner are the brothers behind Words With Friends, the word building game that has taken the world by storm by challenging players to create the highest-scoring words on a game board while playing against another opponent - friend or random.  They first launched Chess With Friends in November, 2008 followed by Words With Friends in July, 2009.  Paul is now Vice President and General Manager of Zynga With Friends based in McKinney, Texas, where David is Studio Director.

Words With Friends is a part of the 'With Friends' franchise, which has grown to four games and continues to connect players with their friends, family and even random opponents through its in-game chat and triple letter words. Available on Facebook, Android devices, iPad, iPhone and iPodtouch, Words With Friends continues to hover at the top of the App Store charts and is currently the number three game on Facebook by DAU according to Appdata.com.

Kevin Systrom - creator of Instagram

After graduating from Stanford in 2006, Systrom spent two years at Google where he worked on Gmail and Google Reader. In 2010, he launched Instagram.

Instagram is a free photo sharing application that allows users to take photos, apply a filter, and share it on the service or variety of other social networking services. It was launched in Apple's App store in October 2010, and by December it had one million registered users.

Jim McKelvey - created Square Mobile Pay

Jim McKelvey is co-founder of Square, a mobile payment platform. A renowned glass blower, he was trying to sell one of his pieces over the phone to a woman in Panama, and lost his sale because he could not accept American Express. He founded Square in 2009 as a way to prevent small business from not being able to accept certain payment cards.

Square was the first mobile payment system for smartphones. The miniature, square shaped, thumb-sized slot plugs into any Android or iPhone/iPad device and allows users to securely swipe credit cards and process instant payment. Instead of charging up to 5 percent of the gross sale like most machines, Square charges a fixed 2.75 percent. McKelvey built the prototype card-readers as Dorsey worked on the software. By the end of 2009, Square had over 100,000 customers, today it has over a million.

Chris Barton and Avery Wang - helped create Shazam

Chris Barton and Avery Wang were two of Shazam's four founders (Philip Inghelbrecht and Dhiraj Mukherjee being the other two). Chris Barton had the original idea for Shazam and sought out "the smartest guy he could find" to build his vision.  Avery Wang was that guy.  He became the principal inventor of Shazam's recognition algorithms and is still Chief Scientist at Shazam. Barton is currently employed at Dropbox and serves as a Shazam Board observer. 

Shazam's roots are in music, enabling people to identify, buy and share music discoveries through an acoustic fingerprint algorithm.  This amazing service began even before there were smartphones by delivering a text result to UK fans that dialed 2580 and held their phone towards the music.  Today, Shazam connects more than 175 million people, in over 200 countries and 30 languages to the music, TV and brands they love.  Shazam works with music labels, TV program producers and broadcasters, as well as every major mobile platform and carrier, making it the world's leading media discovery company - and one of the most popular apps in the market (106)

Shazam is the world's leading media discovery company with more than 175 million people in 200 countries and adding another 1.5 million new users each week.  Shazam is the best way for people to discover, explore, buy, and share, music, TV shows and branded content.

For further information about Shazam Entertainment visit www.shazam.com and @ShazamNews or follow us on Facebook.  For daily music updates follow the Shazam Blog and @Shazam.

Additional information on all of the innovators featured can be found at http://www.youtube.com/bestbuy.

Best Buy Mobile brings consumers the choice of any carrier, any phone, any plan with lots of unbiased advice at the more than 1,100 Best Buy stores and 279 Best Buy Mobile specialty stores. In addition, it offers an array of services aimed at improving customers' experience, including Walk Out Working, Upgrade Checker, Happy 24 and a full array of accessories for customers to protect and personalize their device.

About Best Buy Mobile

Best Buy Mobile was founded in 2006 with a goal of changing the way consumers shop for and purchase mobile phones in America. Today, Best Buy Mobile is in every Best Buy store and also has 279 Best Buy Mobile specialty stores around the country. Best Mobile features one of the largest selections of carriers, handsets and accessories available anywhere. Employees undergo at least 80 hours of intensive training, as well as continuing education on mobile phone technology and trends to help customers get the most of their mobile phones. For more information about Best Buy Mobile visit www.bestbuy.com/mobile or www.bestbuymobile.com.

About Best Buy Co., Inc.

Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) is a leading multi-channel global retailer and developer of technology products and services. Every day our employees - 180,000 strong - are committed to helping deliver the technology solutions that enable easy access to people, knowledge, ideas and fun. We are keenly aware of our role and impact on the world, and we are committed to developing and implementing business strategies that bring sustainable technology solutions to our consumers and communities. For information about Best Buy, visit www.bby.com and to shop at Best Buy, visit www.bestbuy.com.

Media Contact: Paula Baldwin

Director, Best Buy Public Relations

(612) 291-6126 or Paula.Baldwin@bestbuy.com





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