Professional Jeweler Archive: Pleasing Plasma Screens

November 2001


Pleasing Plasma Screens

The medium really is the message

Wanna make passersby stop and go gaga at your display windows?

Two words: plasma screen. Right now, it’s the medium that really conveys the right image.

Plasma screen TV sets are the new status symbols. Sure, these thin, ridiculously expensive sets cost a minimum of $10,000 apiece. That’s why 65% of them are sold to businesses that could afford to pay the price for such an eye-catching marketing tool.

And according to The New York Times, it doesn’t so much matter what’s playing; just having one is enough.

“You put a regular TV in a mall or a movie theater, and people walk right by it,” says Mike Gleason, national sales manager for Fujitsu General America. “With plasma, the message is secondary. People stop just to look at the monitor.”

Plasma screens come in two sizes: 42 and 50 inches, and range from three to seven inches deep. Filled with hundreds of thousands of tiny neon and xenon gas cells, plasma screens produce a crisp digital image. The main attraction, however, seems to be their movie-screen dimensions. Rather than the 4:3 proportions of a standard TV screen, plasma screens offer a 16:9 ratio that makes other sets look square – in every sense of the word.

Plasmas started to show up in 2000 at all sorts of public places in New York City: gyms, clubs, malls, a student lounge at New York University, in a Gap store on Fifth Avenue, in a show of video art at the Whitney Museum of American Art and hanging from the ceiling of The Apartment, a mod furniture store in Soho. There was even a Philips ad with a hip couple watching one on their bedroom ceiling.

At the James Dean Lounge in the Iroquois Hotel on West 44th Street, a plasma screen plays James Dean movies over the fireplace. “I wanted to present people with things they don’t have in their own homes,” says general manager Paul Celnik.

Well, some people do have them at home. Entertainer Madonna, designer Donatella Versace and other affluent and/or very, very rich people were among the 100 or so buyers of plasma screens last year at the Harvey electronics store, says Greg Mykietyn, a salesman there.

So get one and tank up the VCR at your store. A De Beers videotape? Maybe a James Bond flick such as “Diamonds Are Forever.” With this vehicle to show it, it really doesn’t matter.

– by Mark E. Dixon

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications