The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Late But Great …
May 17, 2007, 8:59 am
Filed under: Comment

I have written about the problems SONY face quite a few times in the past – however working along side them, I can honestly say they are desperately trying to make things better.

Of course they still have a hell-of-a-long-way to go … and due to a number of reasons, they are still prone to making the odd humungous blunder … however if they embrace the passion, perseverance and ingenuity that I see within many of their key people, then I am hopeful that one day they can be as successful as they once were. 

Now as I’ve said many times, SONY need much more than ads to help them recapture their glory – which is why we get involved in all manner of areas including product development, distribution and packaging – however over the next couple of days, I’d like to show you some of the more ‘traditional’ output we’ve been doing for them – ads – this time for the new Walkman With Video.

Yes I know the video iPOD has been out for quite a while and is a great product [though this is more aimed more at the Nano product than the 30/80gb iPod] … and being honest, the ad pretty much wrote itself so planning involvement was minimal [though we stayed true to the central idea developed for Walkman mainly because this is where the brand should be going] … however putting all that aside, the launch of this product – however late – is significant for a number of reasons, not least because it demonstrates SONY are finally getting their act together interms of form, function and performance.

Of course they have to be quicker and smarter … but judging by the products that I know are in the pipeline, they are aiming to do just that and that makes me happy as SONY has a special place in my heart. [Mind you as I wrote here, NOT being first is sometimes a competitive advantage for both brand and consumer]

PS: Lets hope Bob Garfield likes them better than the last thing he saw of ours, ha.

PPS: Don’t tell me the web-address isn’t  true to the executional idea … I know … an example of where SONY misses the point, ha.

PPPS: We had about $3.63 to make this ad, so how Baz Luhrmann spent millions on Romeo & Juliet is beyond me. Then again, he didn’t have ‘Mummies Boy’ gang members in his film did he? Ha!

52 Comments so far
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Man, one day off and there are three new posts with 75 fucking 🙂 new comments to read…it’s 3 a.m….this is too much. Rob, you make it hard to follow. Anyway, I really liked Sony years ago. But today I think I own two tech-things they made. My Playstation (because it’s the best) and a pair of oversized headphones (because they were cheap). They seem to have real problems with their product design. I never would by a Sony mobile because they look rubbish and are build to last absolutely nothing. They never could take up with my Samsung. My computer is a Mac and my MP3 player as well. And I think it will be really hard to at least keep up with the iPod. Microsoft tried and failed miserably. Because together with the Musicstore Apple built a powerful thing. I like the Musicstore and therefore will use an iPod. And vice versa. Definitely love the SONY brand, though. I just don’t like their products anymore (by the way: when they have a great product, it’s too expensive). Anyway, morning, Rob.

Comment by Seb

Looks and sounds spectacular, but does it all happen a little too quickly for the viewer to take it in? I had to watch it a few times before I got everything. Sorry, Rob, devil’s advocate here…

Comment by Age

Hello guys …

First Age – fair point mate, it’s just the teaser though and over the next couple of days you’ll see a few more before the ahem, ‘extravaganza’, ha

Now Seb – what you are saying is true of a lot of people, me included.

The SONY brand still conveys alot of warmth even though interms of products, it’s not nearly matching up to the needs/wants we seek.

Saying that, they are changing and they are getting better even if they still have a long way to go.

I do have to say though – and this is obviously just my personal opinion – I think their product design is still much better than many of the competition, bar a few notable exceptions like the couple you highlighted to name but a few.

As for their phones – well granted, they may not have as many features as Samsung [which often has features for the sake of having them rather than actually having any demonstrable value, but I will always go with SONY Ericsson, not because they are my client, but because I genuinely love the software and – dependent on the model – the looks too. [Does this make me sad? Ha, don’t answer that]

Finally you are bang on about iTunes – that is the real reason behind iPOD’s success.

I was lucky enough to be involved in the launch of iPOD and while the product looks amazing, has a wonderful and intuitive navigation system and sounds pretty good – without iTunes, it would be a shadow of it’s current glory – but as I wrote all about this in a previous post [] I won’t repear myself again, ha.

I’ve always said ads won’t solve SONY’s fundamental problems – but starting to connect with consumers again, being more human than corporate cold, being more interesting than achingly rational – well, it can all help in getting people to give SONY another look, acccepting that after that, it’s down to them.

[Well, not purely down to them as we’re now helping in all the other areas too, haha!]

Comment by Rob

Stop teasing, lets see the rest of them, come on.

It still amazes me you get Sony to agree to this sort of thing, especially in Asia. Like you said they have a long way to go, but they must appreciate how much you are contributing to their revival?

Have you seen the new work in the US from BBDO?
Seriously mate, it is fucking awful so if I were you, I’d ask to take on that region as well. Then again Europe needs a kick up the ass because Playstation and Bravia aside (which I still don’t think deserves all the praise it gets) they are churning out wallpaper advertising at its worst.

Come on, tell me how you do it, is it blackmail or something? I hope it is because then I won’t feel so bad for failing so miserably with them for 3 years.

Comment by Pete

ooohhh… just noticed you added 2 other vids. I like where this is heading. Those look stunning by the way, really great colours.

ps. email on the way, Rob.

Comment by Age

the reason these spots could be made so fucking cheaply is because they were filmed in bogota and everyone got so ripped to the tits on coke they forgot to charge for the fucking shoot.
how i wish id been there.

Comment by andy@cynic

The last one works. I’m parking overall opinion for the time being.

Comment by Charles Frith

Ooooh you’re so tough for what are a bunch of bloody teasers, hahaha!

Comment by Rob

To answer your question Rob, it’s because the people on this blog have such high advertising standards.
For what it is worth I think they work, though I am a planner so what would I know?

Comment by Pete

Don’t worry Pete – no need to protect me, everyone is entitled to their opinion and I am hardly backward at defending or criticising the work I am involved with am I? Ha!

[If you go here, I think it proves my point …

Finally, I am glad you acknowledge your opinion counts for nothing. Sure … you and your team were behind some of the greatest and most talked about ad campaigns of the last few years but lets be honest, there’s no real intelligence or consumer insight in the stuff you do, at Crispin’s, it’s all about ‘the joke’. Ha 🙂

Comment by Rob

I agree with Pete, they work.

Comment by NP

Can I ask a question? Like a proper grown up one.

Over the course of the last 8 or 9 months I’ve been reading blog post afer blog post about whether TV-Spot “A” is good or TV-Spot “B” is rubbish. Or if they work.

So my question is; when you say “it works” or “it’s good” or “it’s rubbish” what do you all base your appraisal on?

For me, these Sony Ad’s are nicely shot moving pictures with some alright music, put on a blog. They’re totally out of context (i.e. not surrounded by a bunch of other ads). I have no idea about what Sony’s problems are in the Asian market and I have no idea what their long term staregy is either (if they have one at all).

It would just interest me to know how you all decide what work’s and what doesn’t.

Thank you. A printer.

Comment by Marcus Brown

I think they are real pretty like – so they work ;).

I like that they make you want to look at them twice. I personally pay more attention to ads that I want to see the next time they come on TV, or I search for on the net.

Comment by Jade

Marcus … that is not being all ‘adult’, it is being all ‘realist’.

You are absolutely right … the evaluation of ads is quite often down to the personal opinion of the recipient, however if the planner has been doing his/her job right – the underlying message [at the very least] will positively influence the execution so that it achieves the desired response from the consumer.

Fuck, what a load of corporate twaddle – but basically its about creating ads/ideas that make consumers do something [that benefits the clients end goal] rather than just making things that look purdy!!!

My old boss put it simply – if an ad makes the till’s go ‘up’ its worked, if it doesn’t, it hasn’t … and whilst that is a very black & white view – I still hold it dear which is why we regard planning as finding out how to MOTIVATE people rather than just engage them.

These ads will not help SONY get over the fundamental issues they face – and I do think I have said that earlier – they have a lot to do but creativity can help change people’s opinion about things and as long as SONY back it up with the right products at the right price with the right distribution, then that is a positive step in the right direction!

This campaign is simply to promote their new video Walkman, and it’s goal is to drive people ‘to find out more’ at the various other points of contact where the campaign will be run.

Can we guarantee success? Of course not – but then we are called advertising not sellvertising so as long as the people feel compelled enough to look at things with an intention of interest, then we have already done something significant for their business.

Could we do other things that might be more effective? Without doubt – which is why we do get involved in product / packaging / distribution – but SONY is an interesting company where quite often, what is done is more for the internal aspects of the organisation than the end consumer so our goal is to navigate all these obstacles and try and do what is right for all parties without being too bland, boring or unimpactful.

Does that adult response answer any element of your realist question? I hope so – I’m too tired to write anymore, ha!

Comment by Rob

Are you trying to tell me that advertising is supposed to actually make people do stuff and make companies money?
No fucking way, you’re taking the piss.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Its nice on your planet isn’t it Billy!

Comment by Rob

It’s nice, but could be a fuck of a lot ( 🙂 ) nicer if a small pay rise was forthcoming.

Comment by Billy Whizz


Nice ads. Great banter. Who could ask for more?

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Billy seems to be asking for more Mr. M.

Comment by Marcus Brown

Well yes…*ahem*

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Well Billy, given you did use a 🙂 after swearing, I think I could go some way to making your wish come true.

What about an extra $5000 a month?

Comment by Rob

That would be very kind of you Mr Campbell, which shoes would you like me to clean for you? With my tongue?

Comment by Billy Whizz

Well you have an option Billy …

1. Clean Andy’s toes with your tongue.


2. Ask me if I was joking.

Comment by Rob

I’ll take option 1, I know what you are leading up to with number 2.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Humour me Billy because I’m certainly humouring you with the promise of a $5k a month pay rise.

Comment by Rob

So there we have it people. That’s how you start off with a post about SONY and then get to toe licking.

I love this blog.

Comment by Marcus Brown

Humouring me? I’ll get the fucking 🙂 union on you.

Because I am hoping there might be a slither of pay generosity running through your veins, I;ll bite.

Are you joking about the payrise Robert?

Comment by Billy Whizz

Only here people…only here…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Yes I am Billy.

Now ask me why.

Comment by Rob

Why? (trying to sound bored)

Comment by Billy Whizz

You started the joke by asking for the payrise.

Boom Tish.

My door is always open, my staff are my greatest asset, I care about your livlihood, without you I am nothing etc etc

Comment by Rob

Well you started the joke when you asked for the payrise. Boom Tish.

Don’t worry Billy, my door is always open, my staff are my greatest asset, I care about your wellbeing, without you I am nothing etc etc

Comment by Rob

Now we go to the clapometer…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Happy now Rob? Happy you have been able to humiliate me in the blogsphere? Happy to have a straight man to your ‘comedy’ act?

Given I have demonstrated my loyalty, can I now please have the cash? Not that I am a money whore or anything.

Comment by Billy Whizz

The DVD Box Set of “Billy Whizz & Campbell” will be available from Friday.

Comment by Marcus Brown

Take a bow Billy, you were a wonderful participant – but before people start to feel sorry for you, please tell everyone where you are, what you are doing and who is paying for it all and I’ll see and speak to you soon.

Cheers matey …

Comment by Rob

Good point Marcus – and there’s a ‘collectors edition’ which features the ‘GET WELL SOON’ DVD’s Billy received in hospital from work.

[For men only]

Comment by Rob

As if I’d give you the satisfaction after that 🙂

Comment by Billy Whizz

Andy has trained you well Billy, ha!

Speak soon mate, have fun and do yourself [and us] proud …

Comment by Rob

Like the ads…. one thing I need to see before deciding whether they are effective – what’s been the hits to the site compared to say

Comment by Will

It hasn’t launched yet Will – so I’ll let you know when I know some details.

Given the website isn’t finished yet … lets hope not too many people are heading there yet, ha!

Comment by Rob

Hah, yes, let’s hope so. 😉

Btw, I’m going back today for my 2nd round *ahem* with your *ahem* – here’s hoping.

Comment by Will

Bloody hell, you can’t blink for minute on this blog.
Will the DVD extras have Jillyisms. Maybe you could have the world according to Andy.

Comment by NP

Thats a new show for the Summer Season here on RCTV.

Other highlights include Billy’s sitcom ‘Gee Whizz’, Lauren’s new art show, and Northern Planner’s cookery show.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Seeing as you guys like a campaign or two, I’d like you lot to go to W&K’s blog and campaign for them to hire Seb – they’ve just received his painting:

Comment by Will

jesus christ! half a day away from the net and i’ve missed out on all the fun and games! i can’t really offer too much of an opinion about sony, really, but i will say that i admire the courage in taking on such a huge haul, rob. and glibly, i really liked the ‘it’s a sony!’ campaign from the 90s (?)…

is it better to continue to try to compete with a superior product knowing that it will be years before you have a decent market share, or is it better to resign and work on something completely new and innovative and leave that competitor to have the monopoly on the category? is it better to burn out than fade away?

Comment by lauren

Depends who you are Lauren, in my view – if you know the brand is dying (or think it is), many marketeers seem to want to sit on it, before moving on to another job – not risk fucking things up and damaging their reputation.

But I’m with Neil Young; it’s always better to burn out than to fade away.

Comment by Will

Re-record, dont fade away. Re-record, dont fade away…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Just checked in and seen all these wonderful additional comments … won’t go into all of them but [1] Lauren are you OK as this is the 2nd day you’ve not sworn and sound tired and I’m worried. Are you eating properly love? [2] Fuck knows why I have no rating on Xbox Live – I know I am shit, but even I am not that shit [3] Good luck Will – let me know how it goes and how I can ‘push’ anything that needs pushing [4] if you like Jillyism’s NP – wait till tommorrow/Monday, there’s a doozy and it is ON VIDEO [5] I’ve just been handed a business card for ‘personal massages’ by a gorgeous woman who was sharing the same lift as me in my appartment with [Why wasn’t I in Asia when I was 17 and single, why???*] and finally [6] you can only sign Seb’s petition if you sign Rob’s first []

Right I have just walked 3 miles in 100% humidity so I am going for a shower then bed. Night all … and thanks for making me actually enjoy this blog because if it was down to me, it’d put me to sleep!

* Of course I am joking with that comment Mum. And Jill.

Comment by Rob

i’ve got a fucking cold and i’ve almost thrown my laptop out the window for how long and fucking difficult it was to make a fucking international money transfer. i’m eating ok, but the water here is rancid and i’m sleeping in a loungeroom, otherwise known as the smoking room (read: absolutely shit for sleep). and i fucking miss my mum, who is currently on holidays, walking around the daintree rainforest and staying in a cottage overlooking the great barrier reef. fuck!!!

there – that better?
(sorry mrs c – all that being nice and pleasant just went down the gurgler)

Comment by lauren


Comment by Rob Mortimer

Lauren you do not sound happy at all – it’s a phase, anyone who moves to another country has that – trust me, I was fucking miserable when I first left England and I had moved to a land where the sun actually comes out more than once a year!!!

Saying that, here is a LAUREN EMERGENCY CALL … could anyone in London please get in contact with her and take her to a pub/club/restaurant/gallery and get her smiling again, or at the very least, pissed on fizzy water.

Thank you – that was a public service announcement by the ‘I-may-live-away-but-still-call-England-home’ society.

Comment by Rob

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