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Bank One, Sony Sing For Supper

Launch two-day music and tech fest in Gotham

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%%STORYIMAGE_LEFT%% Who says nothing in life is free? New Yorkers passing by Union Square and Bryant Park on Thursday, June 17 can hear popular recording artists including John Mayer, Dido, Five for Fighting and Butch Walker at no cost.

In a program put together by Bank One Card Services, the purveyor of the Sony Card, and its agency, Carat Sponsorship Solutions, a unit of Aegis' Carat, the two-day marketing effort taps into the growing currency of the experiential marketing platform of live music. The intent is not just to entertain current and prospective cardholders, but also show them the breadth of Sony products and experiences possible.

The live concerts—at 11:30 a.m. in Union Square and at 5:15 p.m. in Bryant Park—will be the linchpins to the event with the long-winded moniker "The Sony Card Entertainment and Technology Experience Like No Other" to promote the Sony Card, a rewards credit card launched in February. It will showcase such Sony products as Sony cameras, which will be trained on Mayer, a Sony artist. His image will be broadcast throughout Bryant Park on Sony-made Plasma screens, while his voice will be carried to the audience over Sony speakers.

"This is not just about Bank One or Sony Card slapping their name on a concert," said Manning Field, first VP, brand management, Bank One Card Services. "We're bringing the products, providing access and making the card…an embedded part of the experience." Current Sony Card holders as well as new applicants will receive special access to the concerts.

The program kicks off today in New York's Union Square. There, beginning at 8 a.m. through 8 p.m., a traveling interactive tour, "Live Better, Go Digital," sponsored by Sony Electronics and chip- processor-maker Intel, will be set up, featuring state-of-the-art in consumer tech products, such as Sony Vaio computers, powered by Intel chips.

%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% Another multimedia lure will be an exhibit dubbed "The Tech Pit," where visitors can sample products such as Walkman digital music players and DVD dream systems. A print promotion advertising the event appeared in issues of various Wenner Media magazines including Rolling Stone and US Weekly to build advance awareness.

"This is a really different tactic than the traditional approach to getting new card customers via direct mail," said Diane Karle, Senior VP-managing director, Carat Sponsorship Solutions. Similar events are being planned for Los Angeles and additional cities later this year.

Asked about the financial investment in producing the event, Field declined to give a figure but said, "We had to think about 10 seconds about making the investment, so sure we were that we'd be able to get more people than will fit in Bryant Park."

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