The Japanese technology company, Sony, engages in a variety of different marketing efforts, as one of the world's largest and most pervasive corporations. Sony's former slogans have been "The One and Only", "It's a Sony", "Go Create" (Europe), "Intensify your life" (Vietnam), "like.no.other" and "make.believe". Its current slogan is "Be Moved".
It was for the TR-6 radio that Sony first contracted Atchan, a cartoon character created by Fuyuhiko Okabe, to become its advertising character. Now known as "Sony Boy", the character first appeared in a cartoon ad holding a TR-6 to his ear, but went on to represent the company in ads for a variety of products well into the mid-sixties.
It's a Sony
Sony's famous "It's a Sony" slogan was introduced in 1982 alongside the "S" mark. The slogan continued to be used until 2005.
Sony announced a brand strategy at IFA 2009 to replace the "like.no.other" moniker. The words "make.believe" form the "Sony Group Brand Message." The words are designed to unify the company's efforts at communication, and to reinvigorate the Sony brand. This marks the first time any message has served to represent the company's entire range of products. Previously, the company adopted separate strategies in its promotion of entertainment and electronics products.
Following the announcement of the "make.believe" brand strategy, the company included the logo at the end of advertisements. Not until November 2009 did it make its first advertisement. Sony expanded the initial ad to print, television, digital, and outdoor advertisements across Europe. The company launched the "make.believe" strategy in the United States in January 2010.
Sony budgeted US$100 million for its "make.believe" campaign in 2010. That same year, Sony rolled out the second portion of the campaign, focused on promoting its 3D offerings. It broadcast television advertisements featuring American football player Peyton Manning as well as pop singer Justin Timberlake. The ads were intended to teach consumers about 3D and reduce misconceptions about the technology. As a part of the push, the company planned to conduct several thousand demonstrations in retail settings, allowing consumers to see 3D technology first-hand.
Product-line specific campaigns
The BRAVIA brand uses the slogan "Evolve" 
The launch of the BRAVIA was supported by an advertising campaign, with a commercial featuring 250,000 brightly colored rubber balls (real, not computer-generated) bouncing down a San Francisco street. The idea was brought to life by director Nicolai Fuglsig with the help of Los Angeles-based special effects guru Barry Conner. In addition to the 12 air mortars, Conner deployed three giant skips, each lifted 50 feet into the air and containing 35,000 colored bouncy balls. The first shot required 50,000 balls to be sent cascading down a hill, colliding at a road junction with a further 50,000 that had been fired along a side street. A team of 50 interns was on hand to gather up the balls for the six takes it took in the more than four days to film the advertisement. Golf nets were erected at the sides of the street and every drain was blocked.
The idea was originally a segment of the Late Show with David Letterman in 1996, in which bouncy balls rolled down the same street. Fallon, the advertising agency involved with the commercial, denied ever having watched the episode and claimed the similarity was a coincidence. The commercial is accompanied by the song "Heartbeats", written by Swedish duo The Knife and performed by José González. The track became very popular on radio stations in the UK after it was released by Peacefrog Records and helped his debut album Veneer reach number 7 in the UK albums chart. The commercial shows a similarity to The Knife's original Heartbeats-video which was directed by Johannes Nyholm, Andreas Nilsson, Bo Melin. It is probable that the original video inspired the makers of the commercial video.
Circulating only throughout the internet, a video filmed by a clan features 64 players simultaneously hopping down a slope and over Humvees on the Sharqi Peninsula, a map in Battlefield 2. Instead of "BRAVIA - Colour like no other" at the end of the original commercial, the clan's video read "Bunny hopping - Like no other".
On Belgian television, channel VT4 showed a commercial for a soccer event, using soccer balls and the same music as the Sony commercial.
At the Game Developers Conference of 2008, video game developer Crytek reproduced the commercial to demonstrate its CryEngine 2 game engine. Instead of multi-colored bouncy balls, Crytek used bouncing Utah teapots. At the end of the demonstration, the video reads "Realtime - Like no other."
Following on from the original advert, Jonathan Glazer directed the second in which a condemned tower block in Toryglen in Glasgow, Scotland was covered in 70000 litres of environmentally friendly paint with the help of over 1400 separate explosions featured as imitation fireworks, concluding with a simulated "reverse demolition" of the building. This was filmed with a crew of 200 people over a 10-day period in July 2006. The music used in this commercial is the Overture to The Thieving Magpie by Gioachino Rossini. The tower block was demolished in 2007.
It was filmed in a street in New York City where 200 bunnies made from 2.5 Tonnes of plasticine united to form a 30-foot giant rabbit. The accompanying soundtrack is "She's a Rainbow" by The Rolling Stones. The commercial was filmed in New York City.
An advert filmed in Egypt that features thousands of coloured cotton reels tumbling down a pyramid. The cotton reels were not actually rolled down the pyramid but was rather a composition of real footage and CGI.
Advertisement in India features thousands of square anthropomorphic pixels. A Kathakali dancer's green face turns into pixels which run away from him. He found his face later in a Sony BRAVIA television.
This advertising campaign was launched in October 2008. Shot on location in India's states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The 60 second Dominos video takes viewers on a journey on a tumbling journey of color, from a magnificent fort in Jaisalmer through a desert all the way to the Taj Mahal in Agra. The music for the spot was created by Song Zu and Darker My Love's Rob Barbato.
Motionflow 200 Hz/240 Hz is Sony's motion interpolation technology, where three new frames are added per original frame of footage to smooth the picture. Sixty-four Da Pro footballer Kaká were used inside the BRAVIA-drome to demonstrate that with increased frame rate (speed at which the zoetrope rotated), there is increased smoothness of motion. Measuring 10 metres in diameter and weighing 10 tonnes, the BRAVIA-drome has officially been declared the world's largest zoetrope by Guinness World Records.
The advert was directed by Vernie Yeung, produced by Fallon Worldwide, the agency behind the "Balls", "Paint" and "Play-doh" trilogy, and is currently airing in Australia. The music used in this commercial is "Underdog", by Kasabian.
UBS Network News: Tale of the Tape
On November 10, 2008, a video was uploaded on YouTube by "UBS Network News", a mock news report about an anonymously sent video purporting to be an "Unidentifiable Fast Moving Object" (UFMO). The second part, uploaded on November 24, showed a reporter interviewing a "scientist" about the object, which seems to leave behind exhaust like a rocket. However, in the final video, uploaded on November 25, it is revealed that the videos were part of an advertising campaign by Sony and that when BRAVIA Televisions were installed, the footage actually "shows" (the original footage does not actually show) Canadian skater Cindy Klassen.
The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (June 2012)
Since 2020, the PlayStation brand has used "Play Has No Limits" as their slogan for advertising.
Kevin Butler (portrayed by actor Jerry Lambert) is a marketing character used by Sony Computer Entertainment America as part of their It Only Does Everything (2009–2011) and Long Live Play (2011–present) advertising campaigns for the PlayStation 3 in North America.
The string of commercials starring Kevin Butler has been met with positive acclaim due to its humorous and lively tone. Gaming site Kotaku commented on the first two commercials that were released, "What we didn't mention is how funny they are." Sony Computer Entertainment America Senior Vice President Peter Dille said that the commercials have "been tremendously successful. Consumers love it. It's great to hear people like you guys love it. And the results are really in the sales because it's really been flying since this coincided in September with the launch of the new PS3." Engadget also loved the commercials saying, "We have to hand it to Sony, they've followed up nicely on their "worst kept secret" trade show jokes with an ad campaign that is fittingly self-aware". Destructoid praised the commercials, saying that they were much better than Sony's previous White Room series of ads, which was met with mostly negative reception, with most calling it "creepy." When Butler appeared at E3 2010, he was met with large praise from the audience.
It Only Does Everything
The "It Only Does Everything" campaign ran from 2009 to 2011, showcasing the multimedia and non-game features of the PlayStation 3.
Long Live Play
From 2011 to 2012, SCEA used the tagline, Long Live Play to promote its home console.
Sony admitted in late 2005 to hiring graffiti artists to spray paint advertisements for their PlayStation Portable game system in seven major cities including New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Sydney, Australia. The mayor of Philadelphia filed a cease and desist order. According to Sony, they paid businesses and building owners for the right to graffiti their walls. Sony made no plans to keep or withdraw the ads.
In November 2006, a marketing company employed by Sony created a website entitled "All I want for Xmas is a PSP", designed to promote the PSP through viral marketing. The site contained a blog, which was purportedly written by "Charlie", a teenager attempting to get his friend "Jeremy"'s parents to buy him a PSP, providing links to T-shirt iron-ons, Christmas cards, and a "music video" of either Charlie or Jeremy "rapping". However, visitors to the website soon discovered that the website was registered to a marketing company, exposing the site on sites such as YouTube and digg, and Sony was forced to admit the site's true origin in a post on the blog, stating that they would from then on "stick to making cool products" and that they would use the website for "the facts on the PSP". The site has since been taken down. In an interview with next-gen.biz, Sony admitted that the idea was "poorly executed".
Sony's marketing team produced their first Walkman advertisement, a print ad, in 1979 named Bridging the difference. The marketing of the Walkman introduced the idea of 'Japanese-ness' into global culture, synonymous with miniaturization and high-technology. While it was also launched as Walkman in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. It was launched as Freestyle in Sweden, since the Sony staff in Sweden objected to the illicit connotations of the word "stowaway". The use of these different names meant that the same product had to be promoted with different logos and package designs. Before the release of the Walkman, Sony distributed 100 cassette-players to influential individuals like magazine editors and musicians.
The introductory United States advertising campaign for the Sony Walkman was created in the New York office of the international advertising agency, McCann-Erickson, who had won the Sony account just a year before.
The "Walk-men" and "Walk-women" in advertisements were created to be the ideal reflections of the subject watching. This suppositional link that the consumer can have with the product allows one to identify with the personalized device, which then can become an integrated part of his or her life. The advertising of the Sony Walkman served to portray it as a culturally "hip" item. The advertisements contained youthful and fit people using the Walkman in order to entice people into purchasing it. The people in the commercials embodied the "identities we can become", thus making the Walkman a more appealing product for consumers. Teenagers were targeted by the advertising in particular, as Sony's executives hoped that by marketing their product to teens, the Walkman brand would become associated with "youth, activity, sport, leisure, the outdoors, fitness, health, movement, [and] getting-out-and-about". The word "walk-man" itself provides consumers with a vision of the product. In addition to these other modes of advertising, the walkman can be marketed through its idea of being a definition of today's culture. "It belongs to our culture because we have constructed for it a little world of meaning; and this bringing of the object into meaning is what constitutes it as a cultural artefact".
Today,[when?] Walkman still maintains its role in popular culture, albeit a diminished one due to the large number of competitors in mobile audio devices today. Through Sony's effort to "[sustain] certain meanings and practices which have become emblematic of--which seem to stand for or to represent--a distinctive 'way of life': the culture of late-modern, post-industrial societies", the Walkman remains, largely due to effective advertisement, a symbol of the freedom and portability that Sony sought to convey among the younger demographic.
A main component of Walkman advertising campaign was personalization of the device. Having the ability to customize a playlist was a new and exciting revolution in music technology. Potential buyers had the opportunity to choose their perfect match in terms of mobile listening technology. Despite "all this technological diversity, there must be one which is the perfect choice for you". This method of marketing to an extremely expansive user-base while maintaining the idea that the product was made for each individual "[got] the best of all possible worlds—mass marketing and personal differentiation". Sony accomplished the genius feat of mass individualized and targeted advertisement, enabling the Walkman to be recognized as an influential piece of technology.
Sony Ericsson, a joint venture between Sony and Swedish firm Ericsson, employed a "liquid identity" logo. The company adopted the "make.believe" tagline in 2009. As part of its rebranding effort, the company deployed its logo in seven color variations. The company's goals were to appeal to consumer emotions and promote itself more effectively on digital media. Saatchi & Saatchi, Iris and Dare put together the campaign.
Another component of the company's campaign was a viral marketing campaign known as "Spark Something." Advertisements in the viral effort poses the question: "what if dreams could become reality?"
After Sony bought Ericsson's stake in Sony Ericsson back in 2012, the company was quickly renamed into Sony Mobile. During its first year, the company has decided to retain the "liquid identity" logo at the back of its phones. It has also incorporated a "Sony Smartphone" tagline at the bottom of the Xperia logo but it was dropped along with the "liquid identity" logo the year after.
Xperia Z series (2013-2015)
In 2013, Sony released the Xperia Z, the world's first smartphone with a water resistance feature, at CES 2013. It has won the "Best Smartphone" and the "Best of Show" awards at that said event. Sony has launched a huge campaign for the Xperia Z that has been deployed globally in over 20 markets across TV, print, digital, out-of-home and retail from March 2013 highlighting the best innovative technologies made by other Sony divisions that can also be found in the Xperia Z. The Xperia Z also appeared as a product placement in some Sony films and music videos, notably Avril Lavigne's Rock N Roll music video where it appeared at the start of the video inside a glass of water besides Lavigne who's playing the guitar and then moments later, it rang and then Lavigne said “Oh, my new Sony phone is ringing” as she pulls it out of the glass of water. It was considered as one of the worst product placement in a music video of all time.
Sony launched "the best of Sony for the best of you" campaign for the Xperia Z1 in late-2013 which was bigger than the campaign for the Xperia Z. Adam&EveDDB, an advertising company based in the UK, was hired to create the ad for this campaign. A key focus of the ad is the quality of the camera’s smartphone, which was being described in outdoor media as the "world’s best camera in a waterproof smartphone". Sony Music artist Lucy Rose, who has recorded a remake of Primal Scream’s "Movin’ On Up" has been featured as a backing track in the ad as part of Sony Mobile’s strategy of leveraging the other businesses of Sony.
In 2015, Sony offered Daniel Craig $5 million to use the Xperia Z4 (known as the Xperia Z3+ globally) in the James Bond movie, Spectre but he turned it down because for him, Sony phones "aren't cool enough" for James Bond and he didn't want to tarnish the character's reputation of only wanting the best. Craig eventually accepted it but at the time the film was released, the Xperia Z4's successor, the Xperia Z5, was already out so that's what became the official smartphone of James Bond in the film instead.
Xperia X series (2016-2018)
After falling sharply in 2015, Sony has decided to refresh the Xperia brand and launched the Xperia X series to replace the Xperia Z series.
Xperia 1 series (2019-Present)
After years of being criticized of not marketing their products enough, Sony Mobile improved its marketing a bit for the Xperia 5 II and partnered with Activision's Call of Duty: Mobile to make the Xperia 5 II the only phone that can get the 120fps mode in the game. You can also get 20,600 COD Points, the currency in the game, and a few more items by pre-ordering the phone. Sony has also partnered with the Japanese YouTube channel called Anonymouz to make the background song for the Xperia 5 II's ad highlighting the Eye Autofocus feature of the phone which can only be found in Sony smartphones. The impact in sales of this slightly improved marketing for Xperia is still yet to be seen as the brand is still battling continuous losses since 2015.
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