Sony rolls first ads under new management system

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[London] Sony Europe is seeking a turnaround in the fortunes of its consumer-electronics division with a $100 million-plus advertising campaign using the consumer-friendly tagline "You make it a Sony."

The effort, which broke last month, was created by Publicis Groupe's Fallon, London, and is the first to employ Sony's new Advertising Management System, which allows local Sony executives to choose their own campaigns from a central bank of creative executions. Authorized individuals at Sony can view the complete range of approved advertising materials online and request translations or adaptations at a pre-arranged cost. They can then track their orders through to completion.

"AMS is an innovation for Sony," said Tim Kaner, Sony Europe marketing communications director. "It uses new technology to simplify certain processes so that we can focus more on the creativity that Fallon is so good at."

The "You make it a Sony" line is designed to make customers warm to the brand. Sony's previous European campaign, from Publicis' Saatchi & Saatchi London, used the line "Go create," which alienated consumers put off by Sony's range of complicated new technology. The new pitch makes the brand more approachable.

"When you have such an innovative brand as Sony, it's crucial not to race ahead of your customers, as you may lose a level of intimacy that has taken years to develop," said Mr. Kaner. "This campaign will help everyone to understand that it is the people who use and enjoy our products that make them what they are."

other initiatives

Sony is the world's largest consumer-electronics company, with $62.3 billion in sales, but for its fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31, its sales fell 12%.

Among other initiatives, the company has responded by encouraging marketing synergies and ties between divisions. Additionally, within consumer electronics, Sony's policy is to promote what it calls "connectivity," to encourage use of an interlinked network of audio visual and information-technology products.

Fallon's first TV commercials focus on individual products. Ads for the Wega TV show people watching movies at home while Hollywood filmmakers turn up on their doorsteps to thank them for watching on a Wega because "it really does our work justice." In one, a special-effects expert politely thanks a young guy for watching on a Wega while an alien-like creature bursts out of his stomach saying "Yeah, thanks, we really appreciate it," and offers up a bunch of flowers.

Ads for the Sony Cyber-shot digital camera use fleeting photo opportunities. A woman drinking water appears to have a leaking body because of a water sprinkler right behind her, and a man in a restaurant appears to have a wagging tail because of a dog sitting at the next table.

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