Sony's $20 mil direct push offers digital imaging info

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Sony Electronics launches its $20 million direct marketing campaign today with TV spots that provide customers with a means to get expert information about the company's digital imaging products.

"This is really the first time that we're going out with a completely integrated campaign geared toward generating awareness in not only the category but in Sony," said Erik Gerson, director of one-to-one marketing at Sony. The direct campaign is being handled by Young & Rubicam's Impiric, New York.

The direct side of the new campaign consists of two 60-second TV spots; direct-response print ads; acquisition direct mail pieces; personalized fulfillment packages; and ongoing customer loyalty programs, said Margaret Clerking, senior VP-account director at Impiric. The effort accounts for one-third of Sony's $60 million yearlong blitz to promote digital imaging products (AA, March 20).

QUESTIONS ABOUT CAMERA

In a 60-second spot titled "Street Talk" -- the first company commercial shot with a Sony High Definition Camera -- a young man in a leather jacket walks city streets asking a bouncer, cabby, cop, hot dog vendor, street musician, shoppers, a store owner and utility worker questions about digitial cameras and e-mailing pictures, but he gets no answers.

Voice-over, accompanied by an 800-number, tells viewers to call Sony to receive a guide to digital imaging equipment as well as personalized product recommendations.

The TV spots will air on 25 to 30 national cable networks. Direct print will break in a variety of May magazines, including bridal, business, parenting and technology titles, Ms. Clerking said.

"The direct response spots take the awareness [of Sony's products] to the next level," she said. "The general ads began to soften the marketplace and create an interest in the products, and the direct response goes out there and offers Sony as the adviser in the marketplace for digital imaging information."

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