Sony PlayStation Reviewing U.S. Media, Creative

Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch Is Incumbent and Will Defend Business

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Just on the heels of the holiday season, Sony's PlayStation brand is looking for ad help. The marketer is in the midst of two review processes, one for media and one for creative duties, according to industry executives.

The pitch process encompasses ad duties for both the U.S. and Canadian markets. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch in Los Angeles is the incumbent on PlayStation. Havas Worldwide's Chicago office, which began working with the brand in 2011 after picking up customer-relationship marketing duties, is not impacted by the pitch.

Deutsch representatives referred a request for comment to PlayStation, which noted that the agency is defending the business. "Deutsch LA has been a great partner for us over the last six years," said Guy Longworth, SVP of PlayStation brand marketing, in a statement. "We are always looking for ways to improve our advertising, and we are conducting conversations with potential agency partners as well as Deutsch for future work."

It means the new year brings one challenge for Deutsch on the heels of a solid 2012 during which it picked up work for Taco Bell, GoDaddy and others.

Sony Corp. has a broader relationship with Interpublic's UM, which has supported the company's various business units -- Sony Electronics, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Canada -- for more 10 years. PHD also supports media-buying and -planning for various brands.

PlayStation's ad spending has dipped considerably since Deutsch won the account from well over $100 million to less than $50 million. The marketer spent $48.9 million on domestic measured media in 2011, which represents a 20% drop from spending in 2010, according to the Ad Age DataCenter. It's unclear what effect this review might have on the brand's ad budget in 2013.

The move comes as AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner Cable gear up for a push to deliver video games directly to TVs, a strategy shift that poses a threat to traditional consoles such as the PlayStation, Wii and Xbox.

While some reports suggest that PlayStation console sales may be experiencing an uptick that could help it catch up with rival X-Box, its handheld system, Vita, is doing poorly and is on the "low-end" of sales forecasts, Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai told the Wall Street Journal.

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