Zenith and LG

Later this year, Zenith Electronics Corporation will launch the LG brand of premium electronics to complement its own brand name, according to an April 4 announcement. LG-branded products will be positioned above Zenith, with limited distribution of full-featured plasma displays, LCD TVs and digital set-top boxes. A letter to Zenith dealers went out simultaneously with the press release, informing them of impending developments. The LG name is derived from LG Electronics, Inc. (LGE), the Korean electronics giant that acquired Zenith in 1999.

Although Zenith is extremely familiar to consumers throughout North America, its parent company is less well known. When asked how Zenith planned to introduce the LG brand, Zenith Electronics Corporation vice president of pubic affairs John Taylor mentioned a public relations and advertising blitz to begin within a few months. "There are more than 20 million LG cell phones in use," he noted. Zenith plans to leverage that brand awareness for new high-end video products. "We are excited about the opportunities this presents for our dealers and for upscale consumers—there is a tremendous marketing synergy between the two brands."

One of the oldest names in American electronics, Zenith has been successfully transformed into a digital company. Digital products comprise more than 90% of Zenith’s 2003 product line, according to T. J. Lee, Zenith Electronics Corporation president and CEO. "While most 2003 digital products will continue to be marketed under the Zenith name, the premium LG brand will help us meet increasingly diverse customer needs," Lee stated. "We will maximize the value of both brands." Zenith was a primary developer of the HDTV broadcast standard, he noted.

The launch of high-end LG video products is part of a larger goal to attain a dominant position in the US digital market, the world's largest. A "roadmap" for new product rollouts will be issued by early summer, Taylor mentioned.