Media: Strategy Analysis - HD-television restores Sony to glory

Brand: Sony Bravia TV Client: Sony Brief: Launch the high-definition TV and restore Sony's premium brand-leader status Target audience: Digital influencers Budget: Undisclosed AGENCIES Media: OMD UK Creative: Fallon Online: OMD Digital PR: In-house Poster buying: Posterscope

STRATEGY

Brand differentiation and "premiumness" in the TV market have been in decline, with consumers taking advantage of cut-price competition. Sony, however, has managed to reassert its premium brand-pioneer status, with developments in high-definition television.

The agency identified two audience types: "digital influencers", the techies in social circles; and the affluent, design-savvy and larger grouping of "entertainment enthusiasts".

OMD aimed to increase brand advocacy among the former, and engage the latter with Sony's "colour like no other" pitch.

EXECUTION

- Hype: The new commercial involved eschewing CGI, with 250,000 coloured balls dropped down a San Francisco hill street, causing a stir online. OMD set up www.braviaadvert.com, a blog "seeding" site with behind-the-scenes video, stills and games. Visitors could create their own content using the Sony Bravia TV's imagery and music, proving a hit with "digital influencers".

The strategy, in five European markets, secured more than 1.8 million ad views and 17,000 blog postings.

- Launch: With word of-mouth in place, Manchester United vs Chelsea on Sky Sports was identified as the key launch spot. That the most anticipated match of the season fell on a Sunday meant it would be talked about the next day.

OMD spread details of the launch spot online and in the press. It then took over the entire half-time break. Sky's programme promotions even made way for a 2.5-minute version of the ad. The agency bought all of the pitch perimeter board space, which displayed the bouncing balls as the 60-second version of the ad was broadcast.

- Showcase: The final stage of the campaign was to showcase the creative in Perfect Screen Moments, a strategy of sit-forward programmes and films.

The 60-second ad was featured in TV spots and a national cinema campaign, including Imax screens. Top-quality 48-sheet sites were hand-picked, and OMD recommended that media budget be diverted into production so that up-to-the-minute production techniques could be used so as not to compromise message delivery.

RESULTS

No tracking results are available yet, though the campaign has attracted massive media interest. The product sold out by the third week of the TV campaign and so the final week of activity had to be pulled.

THE VERDICT - Derek Morris vice-chairman, ZenithOptimedia

On the face of it, this is a pretty good solution. Hand-picked telly, backed up with posters and a bit of internet on the side. It is a good example of media planning.

I like the use of the web.

It testifies to how quality ideas will be "pulled to" by consumers, and 1.8 million is a big number. The notion of using spots only in sit-forward television is exactly right.

However, am I the only one who will question using the half-time break of a major adrenaline-filled sporting contest for this purpose? In my experience, this is the most "walk around, take a leak, get a drink, and pretend you're taking notice of your family" kind of TV moment. People do anything but watch the ads.

That aside, it is all good stuff. It considered the audience segmentation and their needs, and did the best shape to deliver to them.

There is one issue - nowhere in its description has there been an acknowledgement of the biggest asset in this campaign: it is a stonking ad. Unfortunately, it seems the media business has got itself so "unbundled" that it can no longer admit to brilliant work from creative agencies.

Instead, we speak as if it is targeting, phasing and channels that motivate consumers. Don't get me wrong, this is not a pop against the bright team at OMD. It's just the way too much media work is conceived. And it is a weakness.

I wonder, if the team had put the creative work at the centre of its thinking, what this might have inspired.

We may then have found those coloured balls bouncing all around the world: quietly rolling down escalators and staircases, floating in fountains, collecting together to form pictures in art galleries, stuck in the corner of a taxi-seat, in shop windows, handed out to kids in-store: little executions adding another dimension to the magic of the advertising idea.

For all we know, these may have been suggested and ultimately frustrated. Still, this remains a good piece of media planning.

But if we really want to be "communication planners" then we can't allow ourselves to get so "unbundled" from the creative idea that we do not run with it.

Especially when it is as good as this one.

SCORE: 3 out of 5.

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