Published on .

March 1, 2001

By Tobi Elkin

Sony Electronics toasts the artist in everyone in a TV spot for its new Vaio Slimtop Pen Tablet PC. The 30-second spot, called "Artists," broke Feb. 28 during NBC's popular prime-time drama "West Wing," and is the first of four TV ads in

A through-the-looking-glass view.
a campaign showcasing the Vaio computer products from Sony's Personal Network Solutions Co.

Inside-out perspective
The spot opens as a variety of users, including a child and an architect, paint and draw on what appears to be a glass surface. Halfway through the spot, however, the camera's perspective does a through-the-looking-glass shift and viewers realize that the artists have been drawing directly onto the Vaio's screen. A voice-over intones: "Presenting the new Sony Vaio Pen Tablet PC, the modern version of putting pen to paper. Vaio, from Sony." The campaign debuts the tagline "Dream On."

Created by WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, Irvine, Calif., "Artists" is the first piece of a $20 million to $30 million multimedia effort for San Diego-based Personal Network Solutions.

Mouseless desktop computer
The Vaio Slimtop Pen Tablet PC, which Sony bills as the first desktop computer that doesn't require a mouse, allows consumers to use a wireless pen or stylus to interact with the screen. Any function that normally would require a mouse can be done with the stylus, such as accessing drop-down menus, creating illustrations, saving files, Web surfing and more. The product's sleek design allows for folding its screen down flat, like a book. But with a price tag of $2,999, the Pen Tablet is not for the starving artist.

"What we're trying to do is really talk about our technologies and how they're all converging to create new opportunities," said Ken Dice, vice president of brand and marketing communications for Personal Network Solutions. "We're making sure Vaio represents creativity." Mr. Dice called the first half of "Artists" a metaphor for interaction and engagement, while the second half shows that anyone can connect with his or her creativity via the Pen Tablet.

Mr. Dice said Sony's Vaio product line is targeted to people who embrace creative living and want to use the computer as more than a "productivity tool."

The campaign will run on national network and cable TV, while print and other elements are expected.

Copyright March 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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