Conversation starting campaign by Sony – How Public Relations is adapting to the digital media landscape

The whole point of a good campaign is to get the public interested, to get them talking.

My second lecture this semester taken by Richard Bailey focused on the topic of Markets as Conversations. This quote was taken from the presentation:

¨‘Marketing isn’t going to go away. Nor should it. But it needs to evolve, rapidly and thoroughly, for markets have become networked and now know more than business, learn faster than business, are more honest than business, and are a hell of a lot more fun than business.’

Recently I was sent the link to this video campaign by Sony, advertising their new waterproof Mp3 player. A waterproof Mp3 player is not a new and amazing idea, I was well aware before I saw this campaign that these type of products where out there. I swim 4-6 times a week doing endless and boring swim drills, looking at the same pool floor tiles up and down for many hours throughout my week, which can be very monotonous.

Despite my constant swim routine, I’ve never been fussed over the idea of listening to music when I’m swimming, word of mouth opinions on such devices usually claim the bad quality of the products when actually exposed to water for long periods of time. This point supports Jed Hallam’s views that i recently read in The Social Media Manifesto, about brand image. Reviews and conversations created by the public hold real influence over potential buyers. Companies can no longer rely on the image and marketing they produce due to the internet giving the public a voice and an opinion.

This advert by Sony however has proved the influence a good campaign can have on potential customers, me being one of those. Sony have begun the advertising campaign in New Zealand to sell the music player inside a bottle of water. They have named it the Bottled Walkman, and are selling it from vending machines in public places such as gyms.

The campaign has transformed a vending machine and a product of little previous interest into a conversation starter, and produced a revolutionary way of marketing and distributing their product, setting it apart from its competitors. Campaigns that create a buzz and an interest both online and offline gather attention and publicity that publics want to be apart of.

Conversations become earned media for companies, positive conversations become a result of successful campaigns and clever advertising such as this Sony Campaign. This earned media is an example of how Public Relations is adapting to the digital media landscape that is rapidly evolving.

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