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SMALL AGENCY CREATES NEW SONY ADS AS REVIEW CONTINUES

Meanwhile Five Big Agencies Vie for $100 Million Account

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YORK, Pa. (AdAge.com) -- Mother's Day waits for no one. And although Sony Electronics has yet to settle on an agency to handle its $100 million creative ad account, it is launching ads in support of new digital-imaging devices in time for the upcoming holiday.
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Print and television
Emotion-packed vignettes provide the framework for several Sony imaging products just now hitting retail shelves, including the DVD7 camcorder that records directly to DVD, and an ultra-slim T7 Cyber Shot digital camera. The substantial media buy includes airtime on TV shows such as Desperate Housewives, CSI, Extreme Makeover and Everybody Loves Raymond. Print media includes magazines such as Time, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone and Wired, and a separate Mother's Day-themed, four-page freestanding insert promoting Sony products in newspapers nationwide.

The ads were created by Bagby & Co., Chicago, a small, longtime roster shop for Sony. Media buying and planning was done by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann, with which Sony consolidated its buying duties in 2002. Bagby is also at work on new Vaio computer and Sony high-definition TV advertising expected to bow in the next few months.

Touching moments
Using the overarching Sony tagline "Like No Other," the work conjures up touching baby boomer and Gen X or Y moments such as sisters recording messages and greetings to a third sibling far away, and a father recording his children's summer fun catching fireflies to be watched on a future rainy evening.

"The brand heritage of Sony is all about joy, and so we used the proposition that Sony makes our lives better in finding joy [to drive the work]," said Bagby's senior vice president, John Hambrick, who is also a Sony veteran. "We're reminding people what Sony stands for."

New CMO
Sony Electronics, which named Mike Fasulo as chief marketing officer last week, has had its share of ups and downs of late between the agency review, a new top marketing officer and product missteps -- including not having an 8-megapixel digital camera ready for a New York Times product review in February. Corporate parent Sony Corp. is also going through some big changes as it readies for chairman-CEO-elect Howard Stringer to take the reins in June.

Finalist agencies for Sony's electronics review include: Havas' Arnold Worldwide, Boston, and McKinney and Silver, Durham, N.C.; and Publicis Groupe's Fallon, Minneapolis, and Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, pitching with sibling Team One, El Segundo, Calif.

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