What is Roku Thinking?

I have to admit, when I heard these new Roku radio ads and other spots, I really wondered what the marketing folks at Roku were thinking – were they hoping that these ads would drive brand awareness?

I first saw an outdoor ad, following the US Presidential Election.

Roku Ad, from adage

Its interesting to see this $10M outdoor and media campaign launch, considering nearly 50% of Roku’s current customers come by word-of-mouth (source: http://articles.marketwatch.com/2012-12-07/commentary/35657252_1_roku-cable-tv-contract-stream-content)


Roku raised about $45M in funding in the summer of 2012 – and so it is under pressure to show growth faster. Whether this campaign makes sense, I will leave that determination to the sales results. But certainly, they are making an impact on their brand and awareness. Since TiVO, only AppleTV’s streaming box has really made mainstream headlines and awareness.

Being first to market, or creating such a big halo effect on the category will certainly help Roku – but it also creates awareness for the category. This is an opportunity for other competitors to place their products on the shelf adjacent to Roku, at a lower price point, and ride the wave created by this campaign.

When given the opportunity to enter a market, or create a brand in a category, you have to seize the opportunity swiftly. You also have to realize competitors are going to leverage that branding, and as such – you have to protect your turf. A few ways to do that is to establish your dominance – or show 3rd party credibility – whether that is industry awards or other ways to show that unbiased parties prefer your product.

As far as roku goes… my personal opinion, is that these are not very good quality creatives. I feel these are borderline insulting to groups. That is what really drove me to write about them, so perhaps they achieved their objective in a round about, less desirable way than I would have liked to see.





  1. Until now I’d never heard of Roku. I guess I am a marketers nightmare?

  2. I bought my parents a Roku box 2 or 3 years ago and they love it, but with the introduction of internet connected TVs that allow you to stream TV/movies through apps, the Roku Box is fast becoming obsolete. I would assume they have to position themselves to appeal to a market that aren’t ready, or can’t afford to buy a new Smart TV.

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