Sony's Ad Strategy Moves To Connect Online With Moms, Families
Sony spokesperson Kevin Butler, a fictional character created as part of the company's It Only Does Everything advertising campaign, will target messages to women and families, as the company tries to move from being known as a game console for hardcore gamers to an entertainment center. Microsoft, the maker of Xbox 360, tried that move several years ago, but still struggles at No. 2 in the United States behind Nintendo Wii.
The shift for Sony begins this fall. Deutsch LA is the agency of record helping the company make the move. Although the ongoing campaign will run online and on television across 19 networks, Sony continues to spend "more and more on digital and less and less on print" advertising, says Peter Dille, senior vice president of marketing and PlayStation Network at Sony.
"The ability to have that one-to-one relationship with consumers, monitoring the effective messages, and changing things on the fly gives us a closer relationship with consumers," Dille says. Dille stopped short of calling the new strategy a "Tupperware party," but describes one-on-one sessions with moms who can take the PlayStation 3 message to their social network circle of friends.
Sony will provide packages of information and incentives to help moms spread the word to their friends. Sony also will promote to moms and families through the company's PlayStation Facebook page, which lets Sony connect with about 1 million fans, and Twitter more than 323,000 followers.
Sony measures the success through click-through rates, but also knows consumers have renewed interest in games and consoles. Tracking consumer interest in products, Dille says before launching the It Only Does Everything ad campaign, purchase intent remained on par with the competition -- about 19%. A few months later, purchase intent for Sony products rose to 35% and Microsoft slipped to 13%, he explains.
The potential for video game advertising will expand as new consoles, features and add-ons in the online game market hit consumers. A study released this week from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Wilkofsky Gruen Associates suggests that video game advertising should increase from $24 million in 2009 to $47 million in 2014, a 14.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
The study suggests the overall video game market will reach $20.7 billion in 2014 -- up from $15.1 billion in 2009, growing at a 6.5% CAGR. The report also estimates the sale of online games will reach $3 billion in 2014 -- up from $2.1 billion in 2009, growing at a 7.7% CAGR.
Butler will continue to talk about the PlayStation 3 for Sony, but also expand the conversation to talk about the PlayStation Move, Sony's motion control solution announced at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this week in Los Angeles.
Sony also launched a new ad campaign at E3 for the PSP portable platform. The campaign comes from research that suggests gamers aren't satisfied with gaming on mobile phones. While it's a growing trend, the games are short and too casual. The ad campaign, Step Your Game Up, focuses on those who look for that special experience.
In the ad campaign, Butler interviews a young kid named Marcus Rivers, who wants Sony to provide more love for the PSP. Through an exchange of dialog, Butler deputizes Rivers as a spokesperson for the game-maker. The ad campaign for the PSP targets males age 18 to 34, but also teen and tween boys.