Sony Takes A Road Trip To Woo Hispanics

As electronics giant Sony searches for a partner to develop a new global brand strategy, the company's electronics division has announced specific plans to widen its reach within the U.S. Hispanic market.

Sony Electronics is launching a five-month mobile lifestyle tour through Southern California, called La Experiencia Sony (the Sony Experience). With a focus on education via immersion, the lifestyle tour will make stops at independent retailers and at events where people can try out and learn about Sony personal electronics products.

La Experiencia Sony is being run by Sony's Hispanic agency, Alternative & Innovative Marketing (AIM) LLC of San Diego. Sony declined to disclose its spending on both the lifestyle tour and its overall Hispanic marketing efforts.

The tour will run through March 2007 and stop at 80 locations throughout Southern California. Sony expects to reach between 60,000 and 100,000 Hispanics over the course of the five-month campaign and hopes to drive increased sales through the Christmas retail season, says Tanya Diggs, director of corporate marketing for Sony Electronics.



Sony will introduce a Spanish-language Web site later this year. It also will publish a bilingual shopping guide, in which it is undertaking a broader focus on creating culturally relevant imagery, the company says.

While many U.S. Hispanics are familiar with the Sony brand from their home country, they often lack knowledge of the company's digital capabilities and have little hands-on experience using Sony laptops or personal-audio products.

The campaign is not meant to communicate a different message to Hispanic prospects. Rather, Sony is extending its existing marketing message into the Hispanic market, as the company does with live events in different markets around the country each year.

"The goal is to give all consumers the same premium Sony experience," Diggs says.

Meanwhile, Sony CMO Andrew House is said to be leading a search for an agency to create a new corporate branding campaign. Sony hasn't yet found a way to leverage its multiple business units and strong market share in personal electronics into a cohesive brand strategy. Discussions reportedly have taken place with agencies owned by WPP Group, Omnicom and Interpublic Group of Cos.

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