Sony Ericsson: A case of twins

By Neha Kalra , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | January 30, 2009
For the W595, one of its new launches, Sony Ericsson gets twins to play the musical double whammy for it. afaqs! finds out

Sony Ericsson is strumming the music once again, with a new campaign for its Walkman series. The instrument for music this time is its new launch, the W595, which, with its special product features, makes music and video sharing easy, though not via Bluetooth.

The TVC for the W595 features various pairs of people, who wear the same clothes and are enjoying music together by sharing it through a dual head jack. Towards the end of the film, one of the twin brothers removes the earplug from his ear. As he walks away, in a flash, his looks and attire change.

The & #BANNER1 & # account is currently handled by Saatchi & Saatchi. The agency has been handling the business since 2007, prior to which Dentsu handled it for a year.

Creating music
The creative is aimed at bringing out the special feature of the handset - sharing music and videos through a jack. The purpose was to make the communication very aspirational, Vinay Mediratta, manager, Walkman product group, marketing, tells afaqs!

The brief for the 'Twin' TVC was simple and clear, says Nandu Narasimhan, executive creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi, North and Bangalore. "The product had a clear delivery - a music experience that enabled sharing. But sharing is an oft-treaded space. Bringing out a unique aspect or finding a genuine human behavioural truth associated with sharing was the challenge."

Being one of the many products in the Walkman series, the communication for the W595 needed not only to stand out for the brand, Sony Ericsson, but simultaneously, also strengthen the Walkman positioning of offering a strong music experience.

The TVC focuses sharply on what happens while sharing a piece of music. In that sense, it is crafted entirely around the precise benefit delivery, says Narasimhan. Moreover, the agency decided to play upon a more college influenced rock and aggressive musical note, as compared to the musical tracks devised by it in the past.

What about the twin factor? The film is based on the insight that when two people listen to a piece of music that they both like, it brings them together at a far deeper level than is apparent to a third person. It dissolves all differences between them, even if it is only for a few moments.

"Creatively, we decided to take this 'coming together' as a cue, and the subsequent interpretation, that two people listening to a piece of music they like appear to be the clone or twin of each other, just fell into place," explains Narasimhan.

The brand walk
The Walkman series is a popular brand amongst the youth, considering its focus on the music quotient. The W595, too, is targeted at people aged around 24 years from SEC A and B. The handset competes in the price band of Rs 10,000-15,000.

As per industry sources, Sony Ericsson spent around Rs 60 crore on its advertising last year. Among the brand's memorable campaigns since it stepped into the market are the Thump campaign, featuring actor Hrithik Roshan as the brand ambassador for the Walkman series, and the campaign for the Shake Phone.

Apart from TV
While television is the largest slice of the media pie for the brand, radio and online activations are on the cards, too.

A radio activity will be conducted across eight cities - Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Pune and Ahmedabad - which will help people hunt for their music buddies. The brand will get together two people who share similar tastes in music. Two music buddy pairs will be selected from each city and, after several rounds, finally, one music buddy pair will win the contest.

The winning pair will be publicised in a print ad, feature as guests on Radio Mirchi and also get W595 handsets.

The online initiatives include setting up a microsite. Banner ads will be run on various websites and unique Yahoo messenger skins will be rolled out; people who have the same messenger skins will be able to share their music with each other. The brand also plans to bring out the Youtube aspect of the mobile on Facebook by creating an application with various avatars.

Peer view
Prasanna Sankhe, national creative director, Publicis Ambience, says the TVC didn't quite "cut" it with him.

Sankhe says, "The new commercial fails on the basic premise of 'when you share music, all differences disappear'. Somehow, this insight doesn't sound real. Agreed that there is a new feature in the phone which lets you plug two earphones at the same time so you can share music, but this commercial doesn't do justice to that feature."

Further, he says that the music track for the commercial is "not that catchy or memorable, which, for a mobile phone based on music, should have been a basic necessity". Sankhe finds the earlier 'Thump' ads far superior to this. "Sony Ericsson will have to be aggressive in its advertising if it wants to own the 'music mobile' space now, since touch phones like the iPhone have already managed to create a loyal segment and the new Nokia 5800 is also speaking the 'music language'," he asserts.

Atishi Pradhan, senior vice-president and executive planning director, Contract Advertising, says she quite likes the TVC. Seemingly convinced by the strategy of using twins as a creative hook, she says, "Sharing is clearly comprehended and the twist of these people not actually being twins is smart."

Pradhan is certain that Sony Ericsson has a focused and consistent positioning. She explains that first, it is targeted at the upper middle class urban youth/young adults, and second, the brand's focus is on music as a proposition and differentiator.

However, she feels that, perhaps, there could have been something thought-provoking in what is articulated in the voiceover, 'All differences disappear with music'. "That's a broader thought that could give the brand a larger platform to stand on," she says.