Lowe pockets Sony-Ericsson account

By , agencyfaqs! | In | May 07, 2002
Mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications has hired Lowe, Delhi, to handle its Rs 5 crore-Rs 6 crore advertising account

Mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications (SEMC) has hired Lowe (formerly known as Lowe Lintas & Partners), Delhi, to handle its Rs 5 crore-Rs 6 crore advertising account. Lowe pocketed this account beating two other agencies - Contract Advertising and Rediffusion DY&R - who were called by the company to pitch for the mobile phone business. The pitch happened late last month.

To put things in perspective, prior to the forging of the Sony and Ericsson joint venture in October last year, the Ericsson account, though insignificant, was being handled by Rediffusion, Delhi. Post the joint venture, the Ericsson business became defunct. Then, in April this year, SEMC (the 50:50 joint venture between Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson and Sony Corporation of Japan) announced the launch of the first batch of Sony-Ericsson branded handsets in India. Around the same time, SEMC called for a pitch to choose an agency to work on its advertising account.

Talking about the brief given out to the agencies, Sudhin Mathur, general manager, SEMC, India branch, says, "Worldwide our gameplan is to capture the No 1 position. Sony-Ericsson is a new entity and globally its vision is to be seen as an innovative company, with imaging, gaming, connectivity and entertainment as its hallmarks. We want to reach people who are young at heart and enjoy technology. Through advertising we want to build that association." It seems Lowe clinched the business on the basis of a creative-cum-strategy presentation.

For Lowe, the task is to drive home Sony-Ericsson's association with innovative technology through a concerted multimedia effort. Lowe has chalked out the route already. "The idea is to showcase Sony-Ericsson as the provider of multiple devices for various needs. To that end, taking the brand led advertising route will not work. Sony- Ericsson's advertising is going to be product-led," explains Pavan Varshnei, vice-president, Lowe, Delhi. This is in sharp contrast to the strategy of market leader Nokia, which has built its brand with a clever mix of brand advertising and product-led communication.

As things stand now, T68i, the first Sony-Ericsson branded mobile phone, will be the brand ambassador for the company in India. "T68i will be the image driver for Sony-Ericsson. This model marks a paradigm shift in cellphony. It is a multi-media messaging (MMS) phone with attachable camera. It brings a completely new dimension to communication. It is just a matter of time when MMS replaces short messaging service (SMS)," says Varshnei. To elaborate, the MMS technology enables one to send photos and sound clips in sequenced messages. Apart from this feature, T68i also enables e-mail and text messaging with pictures and sounds (EMS).

Given the features that this brand trots, the basic premise of T68i's communication will be creative self-expression. "The various features of T68i allow one to express oneself creatively. So 'just pick it up' is the message from Sony-Ericsson," adds Mathur.

After T68i, SEMC has lined up the launches of two other mobile phones - the P800, a multi-media smart phone with built-in camera and organiser, and the Z700, a phone with download capability. While Z700 is focussed on gaming and entertainment, P800 will be positioned as a complete multi-media product.

Sony-Ericsson plans to straddle a premium position with its products. Take the T68i, which is priced at Rs 26,000. It is evident Sony-Ericsson is targeting people who are more value-driven than money. "We are clear that all our products will be Rs 7,000-Rs 8,000 onwards," says Mathur.

SEMC's aggressiveness is understandable. The Indian cell phone market, with close to 80 per cent under the iron grip of grey operators, represents a huge untapped potential for the company. "Last year, around 5.7 million handsets (putting both the organised and grey market sales together) were sold in the country. This year the market is expected to grow by another 80 per cent at least - to around 10 million handsets." says Mathur. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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