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Trans World Bows f.y.e TV Campaign

24 Jul, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Trans World Entertainment Corp. through the end of the year is running an edgy television ad campaign aimed at putting excitement and customers back into its more than 750 f.y.e (for your entertainment) retail stores.

The 30-second spots, which air in the Albany, N.Y. (corporate headquarters) and Harrisburg, Pa., markets, separately feature World Wrestling Entertainment grapplers Dave Batista and Montel Vontavious Porter (a.k.a. MVP), R&B singer Ne-Yo and others in pseudo hidden camera moments designed to impart the message that f.y.e. is where entertainment consumers go to “fuel their passions.”

“Each spot takes place at an f.y.e. store and is shot as if we're catching these personalities live on tape,” said Barry Burmaster, director of marketing with Trans World.

It is reportedly Trans World's first regional branding campaign in 36 years.

Owning the largest pure entertainment retail chain in the United States hasn't been a profit center for Trans World, which in 2007 lost nearly $100 million on sales of $1.2 billion. Same-store sales — a retail chain's productivity benchmark — fell a noteworthy 8%.

Principle competitors Tower Records and Video and Musicland both shuttered operations last year.

Co-founder and CEO Robert Higgins earlier this year withdrew a $5-per-share cash bid (in a cost-cutting effort) to take Trans World private, a gamble that backfired and sent the chain's stock plummeting near $2 per share. It has since rebounded to nearly $3 per share — still considered in financial circles as a penny stock.

The marketing campaign, which also includes radio spots, online ads, pizza delivery boxes and discount coupons, intends to reverse the chain's financial fortunes.

The targeted demo is between the ages of 14 and 34 with household incomes exceeding $40,000, according to Burmaster.

The f.y.e. brand also is sponsoring Lollapalooza in Chicago and Bumbershoot in Seattle, among other summer events, according to Burmaster.

“If the campaign is successful, we plan on running it nationally in 2009,” he said.

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