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San Diego High Tech News

Nov. 1, 2000: Sweet Tooth Meets Bluetooth

Naming your company after a chocolate-layered Italian cake may seem a bit decadent. Ditto with food monikers for some of your principal products. But year-old Zucotto Wireless Inc. ( has used this type of offbeat corporate and product positioning to carve out a unique market niche: The company bills itself as "the world leader in Java semiconductors for mobile multimedia and wireless Internet devices."

Zucotto targets OEMs of wireless devices, Java developers and phone carriers. One of its principal products is XPRESSO (the food thing again, albeit spelled a bit differently), a family of semiconductors that combines Java with Bluetooth, an emerging short-range wireless technology.

In addition to establishing its brand, Zucotto needs to overcome the perception that Java applications are slow and haven't gained mainstream acceptance, tout the benefits of embedded Java and position the company as an industry leader.

To accomplish this, Zucotto launched an integrated branding campaign dubbed "Java Meets Bluetooth" using kitschy cartoon characters to introduce the company to both the industry and nontechnical public and to differentiate Zucotto from competitors by establishing a young, fun and innovative image.

And since Zucotto's processors and development kits enable multimedia applications on mobile devices, the company reinforces the association of its technology with multimedia by using cartoons characters, which the company notes have been particularly well-received in Asian countries.

The company also rolled out a print ad campaign depicting a huge billboard with a sign that reads, "Wireless and Java: Merge Ahead." A tag line underneath reads "Java Semiconductors Redefining Wireless." The ads have run in a number of trade publications. A real-life billboard display with the same copy graces the north side of the I-5 and I-805 freeways.

But why use billboard advertising when Zucotto's market niche is so specific? The company's rationale is that since so many commuters in the area work in the wireless industry, it's just another way to trumpet its message, just as the company's penchant for food-related product names and corny-but-cute cartoon characters have played a major role in helping it get noticed.

Marketing expert Neal Leavitt will look at different local marketing campaigns each month. He can be reached at

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