Client: Sony Ericsson
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Principal authors: Martin Smith, Bartle Bogle Hegarty
With contributions from: Heather Anderson, Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Media used: TV, interactive, direct marketing, print, cinema, press,
outdoor, ambient, sales promotion
In the autumn of 2003, the Sony Ericsson T610, a camera-phone with a radical piano black and brushed aluminium design, achieved the almost unthinkable, ending up at the top of the mobile phone charts by opting for a highly unusual launch marketing strategy.
The market conditions at launch were unfavourable. Between 2000 and 2002, European mobile handset sales fell by 26 per cent, and Sony Ericsson's market share had fallen from 9 to 5 per cent the previous year. The traditional launch strategy for a mobile phone was to hit "early adopters" with broadcast advertising to show off the phone's distinguishing features. But Bartle Bogle Hegarty believed the influence of early adopters was generally overestimated.
The agency thought that, while early adopters were turned on by the new phone's features and applications, the much larger "early majority" group, which is less likely to take risks, was more impressed by its appearance.
BBH opted to gun for the early majority to generate more sales, more quickly.
This courage was rewarded. The campaign achieved more than double the payback it would have generated with the standard approach, the authors say, and with the help of the T610, Sony Ericsson reported its first ever quarterly profits. The launch has since challenged traditional handset launch advertising by ignoring the early adopter market.
The judges' view
When Sony Ericsson launched the T610, it side-stepped the traditional opinion former-led trickle-down approach for a mass "early majority" audience.
This multimarket case study measures the fiscal contribution of communications to the launch, and models the contribution within that of the strategic decision to launch atypically.