Sony plans £70m creative overhaul

Sony, the electronics giant, is reviewing its £70 million pan-European consumer products creative account out of Saatchi & Saatchi.

The review is being run from the UK by Tim Kaner, Sony's senior European marketing manager. Kaner oversees Sony's advertising for its electronic products across Europe, including its £14 million UK adspend.

Sony is reviewing Saatchis' role three years after hiring the agency to develop its pan-European "go create advertising. The agency won the business from BMP DDB. The review is in its early stages with a shortlist of pitching agencies yet to be finalised.

Since winning Sony, Saatchis has put the business under three different account directors and a year ago flew in the senior executive Julie Bower from the US to run the account. One agency source said: "Sony is looking at different ways of doing things and is looking at different types of agencies."

Sony has just announced that in Asia, where TBWA recently won its creative account, it is examining ways of moving more of its budget to below-the-line advertising. However, it still sees a role for brand advertising in Europe.

The pan-European creative review follows shake-ups in its US and Asian creative and media agencies. Earlier this year Sony handed its $600 million US media account to Universal McCann. It recently called a pan-European media review across its business divisions, excluding PlayStation.

The incumbent agencies, OMD Europe, MindShare, Starcom MediaVest and Zenith Optimedia, are pitching. OMD UK currently handles media for the consumer products arm of Sony.

Kaner refused to comment. However, a Sony spokeswoman said: "We have regular contact with advertising agencies as part of our business practices.

I can't disclose the content of those discussions. We are clearly always looking at ways to enhance our brand and communications."

Saatchis' recent work for Sony included last year's TV campaign featuring the "Blythe dolls to support its Walkman product. UK activity included a TV campaign of one-second executions which ran in the UK on E4.

The agency won the business on the back of a strategy of "connectivity" which pushes the idea that Sony products talk to each other. Its early commercials ran in 25 countries across Europe.

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