Best Buy To Use Super Bowl Ad To Try To Convince You They Know About Electronics

During last year’s Super Bowl, Best Buy tried to use not-at-all-a-flash-in-the-pan teen star Justin Bieber and slurring punchline Ozzy Osbourne in a failed attempt to announce its Buy Back upsell program that we’ve barely heard about since. For this Sunday’s big ad the retailer, inspired by the death of Steve Jobs and the fact that people seemed to like him, has turned to tech innovators to convince customers it’s not just a showroom for Amazon and Newegg.

“That service side of the business is where they’re trying to position themselves,” one analyst tells Bloomberg about Best Buy’s Super Bowl spot. “The fight they are fighting is against the mass merchants and the online merchants.”

To combat “showrooming,” Best Buy says it is showing a renewed focus on customer service, training employees on how to show customers the way in which their various electronic device communicate and work with each other.

“We have to make bigger visible leaps in our customer service,” said a Best Buy executive, presumably right before he tried to sell reporters an extended warranty.

Bloomberg reports on the tech types that have been drafted to vouch for Best Buy on Sunday:

The Super Bowl commercial, airing in the first quarter of the Feb. 5 game, will spotlight inventors such as Philippe Kahn, who developed one of the first camera phones. Another is Kevin Systrom, who developed a free photo-sharing application called Instagram introduced on Apple’s app store in 2010.

“Big brands like to hire celebrities,” explained another Best Buy suit to Bloomberg. “We looked at everyone from George Clooney to Stephen Colbert. We believe the inventors are more than enough. I give those 125 million viewers a lot of credit. I think they’ll appreciate the story.”

Bieber No Steve Jobs as Best Buy Remakes Ads [Bloomberg]


Edit Your Comment

  1. FreeMarketFan says:

    Best Buy just doesn’t make sense to me.

    Video games I can buy on Amazon and they’ll be in the mail waiting for me when I get home from work.

    HDMI cables – I’ll buy those on newegg.

    PC Components – New Egg

    Movies – Netflicks or Amazon

    So what’s left for me to buy at the store?

  2. Cat says:

    Slightly off topic: I have no plans to watch the Super Bowel.

    Any suggestions for viewing at my “non-super bowl” super bowl party? It’s just me, the wife, and our 2 kids under age 6.. We have Roku w/ Netflix, broadcast TV, and Redbox to choose from.

  3. Bluto says:

    Look at us celebrating innovation! Then visit our website that looks like it was innovated in 1997!

  4. deathbecomesme says:

    Knowledgeable employees and a reliable customer support team is what it’s all about. That is why I use crutchfield for my car electronics and Amazon for everything else. I may pay more for my electronics from Crutchfield but I know they know what they are talking about and if I have a problem with the item I can always exchange it and the Customer service is top notch

    • xspook says:

      +1 Crutchfield. One time I was literally under the dash of my car installing a stereo and there was an extra wire that wasn’t mentioned in the manual. I called Crutchfield customer support and they literally talked me through the install.

  5. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:


  6. Pigfish99 the randomly insane says:

    I don’t really use best buy for buying stuff, and for good reason. the last time I bought a video game there (dissida final fantasy, for those who were wondering), it didn’t work.

    customer service basically fought me hell and high water. Then a play-n-trade opened up closer. everything I got there worked.

    Either way, Best buy needs more than advertising to save its arse.

  7. IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

    If Best Buy wants good customer service, it needs to start with the store management.

    My Geek Squad pushed out all the part timers as they were looking for full time staff to push services, people with no technical experience at all. We had a great team, most of us full time Systems Admins just working there for the discount or to supplement income and our store was always most preferred in our region because we actually helped and knew what we were doing. New manager and everyone who worked under 20 hours a week was told to work more or be cut. So all the part timers were forced to quit and our GS is now like any other.

    Focus on services indeed.

    Sorry I was more concerned with actually fixing computer problems and not about the Best Buy credit card or additional services. THAT is Sales, not service. I didn’t push the cards, but people came out of their way to come to our store because of the staff so it was still a win.

    • smhatter says:

      That has been the plague of GS for several years now. They don’t care about competent repair techs anymore, only about someone that can sell you black tie service.

      If they aren’t going to hire repair people, they really need to stop boasting that they can repair things.

  8. scoosdad says:

    “a renewed focus on customer service”

    They’re going to need to reinvent the wheel to convince most tech-savvy shoppers to return there for that reason. Stories here and around the web about Geek Squad have done some serious damage, I think.

    And they ought to start by selling accessories (a very profitable part of their business) at reasonable prices if they don’t like to lose any business to Amazon, Newegg, and Monoprice. If I go in there for an HDMI cable and find one that works and suits my budget, I might spend more time looking at the rest of their inventory before I go online looking. Give me reasons to go there in the first place.

  9. Chasing Headless Chickens says:

    So…they passed up Stephen Colbert for Kevin Systrom? Because Stephen Colbert has shown he has no clout with the American people….since he’s only raised $1 million for his super PAC (It’s more likely Stephen Colbert wouldn’t take Best Buy’s phone calls). Also, I’ll place bets that most of the type of people watching the Super Bowl are not the “intentor” types and will have no idea, nor any interest in, Philippe Kahn or Kevin Systrom.

  10. ole1845 says:

    Best Buy is good for physically large big ticket items. I’m not going to buy a large screen TV or appliances online. If something arrives damaged it’s a major pain to arrange for it to be picked up, returned, wait for your money to be credited back, fight with the shipper to determine who is responsible for the damage, etc.

    With appliances, Best Buy will deliver, take away the packaging and dispose of your old large broken appliance.

    Large, high value items are still best purchased locally.

    • katarzyna says:

      Amazon White Glove service has been excellent for me.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      That’s what Costco is for. They won’t deliver and take away your packaging, but you get your warranty extended a year automatically and their concierge service if there are problems.

      If you’re buying a washing machine at what is supposed to be a computer store, you’re most likely paying way too much and not talking to anyone who knows anything about it.

    • stuntman-james says:

      Dude, I’ve bought 4 big screen TV’s and several large ticket items from either Crutchfield or Amazon and had one damaged on arrival. 72 hours later, they took care of it like that. I think you be blowing smoke up our ass

  11. Olivia Neutron-Bomb says:

    Our local Best Buy is great!

    …because it has a Video Only next door, where the prices are at least 10% lower.

  12. Bionic Data Drop says:

    So the company that couldn’t get their inventory levels right at Christmas and that recently couldn’t even price their items correctly is going to teach me about technology? There isn’t a middle finger big enough to show Best Buy what most consumers think of them.

  13. alexwade says:

    Here is an idea Best Buy. Make it so that I can walk out the door without trying to be upsold on some “black tie protection”. Make it so that I can buy a computer with being “optimized” without my permission. Make shopping there less like a sales pitch.

    I go to and in part because of the prices. But mostly because I can get what I want without having to say no time and time again. There service is so bad that for items I do want there, I buy online and pickup in the store.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      And even if the service was good, you’d still have to deal with the shocking cacophony of noise as soon as you walk in the door. It’s an assault on the senses and it’s maybe 30 seconds before I start to feel tense and angry. I don’t see how anyone stands working there.

  14. bluline says:

    To combat “showrooming,” I’ve seen a number of local retail outlets charge a fee to show/demonstrate products that they apply to the purchase price should you decide to buy. For instance, the pro shops at the local ice rinks charge a $20 “fitting fee” for hockey skates, knowing that if they don’t, people will simply try on the skates and leave to buy them online. I can see that approach working for some products, but not for many.

    • Bionic Data Drop says:

      I find that insanely sleezy. Not only would I not ever pay to have an item shown to me, I would never shop at that store again. It’s the same reason I don’t go to Best Buy; if I see even one sleezy underhanded tactic, odds are it’s not the only one the store practices.

      The only realistic way to combat showrooming is to have well trained, knowledgable employees, reasonable prices, and great customer service. Basically, everything Best Buy lacks. If a TV at a good B&M store is $50 more than an online store, I will probably buy it so I can have it immediately, I can return it to the store if it’s defective, and I like dealing with good, knowlegable employees that act like the appreciate me. However, if it’s $150 more in the store, I’m buying online.

  15. Buckus says:

    Just like General Motors used to be a financing company that happened to sell cars, Best Buy is trying to be a Service Company that happens to sell electronics? I mean, that’s what it feels like because everytime I walk in there I’m bombarded with signs and advertising for services ranging from installation to Geek Squad to Performance-Optimizing to BuyBack to extended warranties.

  16. HomerSimpson says:

    ‘To combat “showrooming,” Best Buy says it is showing a renewed focus on customer service, training employees on how to show customers the way in which their various electronic device communicate and work with each other.’

    In other words they’re gonna ramp up the SELL SELL SELL..YOU JUST GOTTA BUY THE WHOLE SETUP angle. Along with of course, the Geek Squad optimizing, magazine subscriptions, and the Best Buy card (since life would…not…be…complete for the customer without those)

    • smhatter says:

      I’ve had the warranty service pushed at me (who hasn’t if you have bought something worth more than about $50 there), but oddly, I have never heard a single thing about magazine subscriptions. I actually didn’t know they did that.

  17. ferd says:

    I was in there a week ago and the kid didn’t know what a Y-cable was. “You know to hook up your stereo to the computer so you can record music?” Still didn’t get it. Radio shack nerd knew exactly what it was and had a few in stock.

  18. Cat says:

    So, best Buy, you know about electronics, do you?

    Perhaps you could sell me a 25v 100ŒºF capacitor? No? What do you mean, your blue shirts can’t even pronounce it? Wow.

    How about your Geek Squad, can they de-solder these cache memory chips out of these old non-functioning 386 boards -in one piece- to upgrade this one working motherboard, so we can run this ancient machine we can’t get parts for anymore? No? Wow, they don’t sound very “geeky” to me.


  19. SamiJ says:

    “Big brands like to hire celebrities,” explained another Best Buy suit to Bloomberg. “We looked at everyone from George Clooney to Stephen Colbert. ”

    Yeah. Like either of those guys would do a commercial for BB.

  20. Velvet Jones says:

    Maybe they can start by not hiring people who are complete morons. You know, the kind that try and sell you $80 Monster optical cable by claiming it will sound better due to the “gold plating”.

  21. what says:

    Now this is funny!! Putting inventors into your ads isn’t going to help me reinvigorate my faith in the company.

    I was just there b/c of a gift card, the only reason. I asked a drone in a blue shirt to find a 3.5 mm male to a 2.5mm female adapter. He first went to audio, then went to the ‘guitar’ section and then proceeded to tell me they don’t carry anything of the sort. Um….do you want to call a friend??
    As I headed towards checkout with a CD my husband wanted and an Itunes Card, I looked at the headphones and wouldn’t you know it? In the last row on the bottom is exactly what I was looking for. They wanted $10, but I refuse to buy anything there after the gift card.
    Not only do their workers not know their products, they don’t even know where to find the damn things.I don’t think the new ‘training’ has kicked in yet. It was a piss poor performance for customer service IMO.

    I’ll find what I need on Amazon or Newegg.

  22. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    I guess they are going for the funniest ad.

  23. Jemaine says:

    Anyone seen that episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon goes shopping for Leonard’s birthday and he starts helping the customers at the electronic store? That’s what Best Buy needs

  24. tmc131414 says:

    I take it that “showing a renewed focus on customer service” is code for that they’re going to have their associates (who seem to know less about consumer electronics than most Grandparents) hassle customers even more than they already do and make it nearly impossible to leave the store without a $2,800 3D TV you didn’t want with 7 useless extended warranties tacked on.

  25. skakh says:

    How can they renew their focus on customer service? In my experience, Best Buy has never, ever focused anything on the customer.

    Last thing I bought at BB was a $49 electronic item. They robot at the checkout worked hard to push a $19 extended warranty! I actually felt sorry for the guy! The guy said he had to sell as many extended warranties as he could as he would lose his job if BB management was not happy with his performance. I would ask BB to explain how that is a focus on customer service.

  26. aleck says:

    Best Buy “services” are for idiots who need their computer “optimized” and have not figured out yet how to order things online. I am sure they will always be out there for Best Buy to profit from.

  27. newmie says:

    I was in Worse Buy one time and saw a saleman selling a blu-ray (1080) to a guy who was buying a 720 TV. I asked the salesman ( in front of the customer) if he intended to tell the guy that he would get no benefit from that combo. What an ass!

  28. newmie says:

    I was in Worse Buy one time and saw a saleman selling a blu-ray player (1080) to a guy who was buying a 720 TV. I asked the salesman ( in front of the customer) if he intended to tell the guy that he would get no benefit from that combo. What an ass!