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SONY PUTS ENTERTAINMENT VALUE INTO NEW PC BRAND

By Published on .

Sony Corp., preparing for technological convergence, marries entertainment and computer marketing in the first campaign for its new line carrying the PCs by Sony brand.

The $10 million print and transit ad effort breaks this week, targeting consumers on the cutting edge of technology.

Capitalizing on its expertise in audio and video technology, the Sony Information Technologies of America unit is attempting to market its computer as more home-friendly than traditional business computers. The PC has built-in stereo speakers, microphone and sub-woofer and a violet-colored sliding door on its mini-tower to cover up floppy disk and CD-ROM drive clutter. Peripherals will stack like stereo components.

Bundled soft-ware includes Windows 95 as well as "Sony Tuned," a collection of video and enhanced 3D graphics games titles, CD-ROM magazines and Internet access.

CUSTOMER SERVICE UPGRADE

Sony also is moving to raise the bar on customer service, with an SOS-Sony Online Support-service that will allow technicians over a single telephone line to speak with customers while the computer modem is operating.

The target is "repeat buyers who are focused on technology...and who are ready for this convergence," said Matt Smith, manager of desktop marketing. Computers "never addressed the styling of the PC," said Mr. Smith, and that is important in the home where consumers want products to reflect "personal style and taste."

Sony's advertising, from Winkler McManus, San Francisco, takes an irreverent tack, common to electronics advertising. One print ad shows a pair of futuristic archeologists who discover some old computer equipment on a dig. "Information will marry entertainment. They will have many children," copy reads.

For the tech crowd, the ads include a color bar device along the side that includes computer specifications.

SIGNATURE MARK

To underline its leadership in audio/video technology, each of the products will have a signature mark, VAIO, a graphical interpretation of the combination of the analog and digital worlds, the sine wave to the binary 101010. VAIO also stands for Video Audio Integrated Operation.

In addition to inclusion on every product and on future compatible units, the mark will be placed inconspicuously in advertising, said Winkler VP Michael Olch.

The bus ads will appear in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington. All advertising will promote a Web site (http://

www.sony.com/pc), launching today.

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