Sony converges on $60 mil push

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Sony Electronics next week unveils an estimated $60 million media blitz for its digital imaging products.

The campaign follows on the heels of a sweeping reorganization of the consumer electronics giant's business units to capitalize on the convergence of consumer electronics, information technology, communications and entertainment.

The high-profile, yearlong initiative is Sony's most extensive integrated marketing effort. Young & Rubicam's Y&R Advertising, New York, handles, along with Impiric, its direct marketing arm, and interactive unit Luminant.

Sony will break two spots for its digital imaging products on ABC's March 26 broadcast of the Academy Awards that detail how the products work together. (For a roundup of Oscar advertisers, see Page 40.)

"We believe that we're one of the few, if not the only company, that can pull all these products together and show how they work together," said Mark Viken, senior VP-digital imaging marketing division at Sony.

One spot in particular flags five key product benefits within Sony's new digital imaging platform: capturing, displaying, networking, sharing and editing.

The 30-second spot titled "Good Day" chronicles an eccentric man's delight using digital imaging products such as Sony's Vaio notebook PC, Cyberframe and MD Discam, among others, and how easily he's able to create and edit his own movies and transfer images to the PC.

Three more TV ads are in development, two of which tout how Sony products make it easy to e-mail images.

"What we hope to do is enrich people's lives," said T. Scott Edwards, senior VP-marketing communications group at Sony. "Images are a very important part of people's lives, and the combination of these tools adds a whole new dimension to the way they use images."


Sony is well-positioned to solidify its leadership in the convergence of technologies and lifestyles. Other consumer electronics marketers, such as Matsushita Electric Corp. of America, Mitsubishi Electronics America, Pioneer Electronics and Thomson Consumer Electronics have made moves toward convergence both in terms of business organization and in product delivery, but none is as far along as Sony.

"No other company has the mix of elements they have right now," said Richard Doherty, research director at tech researcher Envisioneering.

This new campaign follows a similar effort in fall 1999 for Sony's home entertainment products and an earlier one for Memory Stick. Both shift Sony's efforts from stand-alone product sales to integrated systems sales.

The latest uses the tagline "Change the way you see the world." The tag, said Cory Basso, senior VP-managing partner at Y&R, is "really a rallying cry. . . . It's the whole positioning and an invitation to consumers."

The campaign includes nearly a dozen print ads in more than 40 magazines, as well as TV spots, interactive ads, and significant direct mail and point-of-purchase elements.


Sony on April 3 also will launch a Web site ( dedicated to digital imaging.

Point of purchase will include interactive Memory Stick displays in more than 600 Circuit City Stores debuting in late spring. Each of Sony's major product categories will be represented in the displays.

Last week, the electronics giant reorganized its business and on April 1 will launch the Consumer Electronics Group, a new organization that combines the company's existing Consumer Products Marketing Group and its Personal Network Solutions Co. into one operating unit. Fujio Nishida, currently head of the consumer products group, will lead the new unit.

The Consumer Electronics Group, based in San Diego, will be responsible for marketing Sony Vaio PCs, digital imaging products and other emerging businesses. Mr. Viken will assume the new role of president of the personal network solutions unit and be responsible for ramping up Sony's build-to-order PC business.


Sony next will extend its platform concept to personal networking via a Walkman-theme campaign. Targeted to the Gen Y set, the Walkman campaign will include CD Walkman, Memory Stick Walkman, Music Clip and Network Walkman. Sony is seeking to contemporize the 20-year-old brand with a new logo, a new brand icon and a new tagline: "The Walkman has landed."

The estimated $20 million campaign will roll out in North America, but eventually could go global. Ads will tie the portable networking concept to the growing market for downloadable music, highlighting Sony's Memory Stick products.

Sony also is expected to launch Music Club, an Internet portal through which music aficionados can access more than 50,000 downloadable music tracks.

Meanwhile, Sony Computer Entertainment of America's PlayStation 2 launch is shaping up to be one of the company's largest, as the videogame category heats up. Sony said it views the PlayStation 2 console as yet another component in its networking strategy.

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