Sony inaugurates Web e-commerce at SonyStyle site

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Sony Electronics, looking to rev up direct sales via the Web and solidify its lead in translating technologies into digital lifestyles, on Nov. 9 launches SonyStyle.com, its new e-commerce site.

The Web portal, the linchpin of Sony's fledgling Park Ridge, N.J.-based e-Solutions Co., will be unveiled this week at a media gathering in New York, as will a glimpse of the ad campaign supporting the effort.

The holiday-themed multimedia campaign breaks later this month, and includes TV, print, online, outdoor and guerrilla marketing. Y&R Advertising, New York, created the campaign for SonyStyle.com.

BUILDING BUZZ

Y&R's Brand Buzz unit, composed of personnel culled from across the agency, developed guerrilla and viral marketing for the effort. Y&R's Digital Edge shares interactive ad duties with ORB, New York.

The budget for the effort, which constitutes the first phase of Sony's e-commerce and Web community push, could not be determined. But it is considered part of an ongoing, yearround marketing campaign. Separately, Sony recently launched a $50 million campaign for the fourth quarter; its fiscal year ends March 31.

Sonystyle.com "will be a significant image and awareness campaign," one Sony executive said.

Over time, SonyStyle.com is expected to add new functions and offer exclusive content from the consumer electronics giant's music, movie and games businesses. The portal launch is considered a cornerstone of Sony's bid to position itself as the leading broadband entertainment brand and a content kingpin.

The goal? To gain access to the broadband pipe into America's homes before rivals and sometime partners, such as Microsoft Corp. and AT&T Corp., do. As residential high-speed broadband capabilities enter more homes, Sony wants to have the pole position in distributing proprietary content.

HUNDREDS OF PRODUCTS

The new portal, which was tested in July, will feature hundreds of Sony consumer electronics products ranging from Vaio laptop PCs to MP3 players; product and warranty information; tech enthusiast communities; dealer locators; and "help-me-decide" guides. Music downloads also are available.

Exclusive content from Sony's quarterly Sony Style, published via Time Inc., also is expected to tie in to SonyStyle.com.

Contributing: Laura Petrecca.

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