Between the Lines: HMV tries creative solution

HMV's decision to approach creatively led ad agencies makes good commercial sense (page 1). The retailer's business model is under attack from online operations and supermarkets, whose lower overheads give them a competitive edge.

Consumers need to be given a reason to shop at HMV. Its current advertising, announcing low prices on new releases, offers little to distinguish the experience of shopping at HMV with that of going to Woolworths, Virgin or even Amazon.

But that needn't be the case. HMV's product range outstrips supermarket retailers, and well-trained staff could enable the store to give customers the kind of expertise that is unavailable online.

In addition, its heritage as a record company means HMV, which stands for His Master's Voice, has a home-grown message that could be used to distinguish it from its rivals. "Nipper", the Jack Russell sitting alongside a gramophone, is one of the most recognisable branding devices around.

There's great potential for a strong ad message that could decommoditise the music retail market.