I Doff My Cap to... Sony and the Launch of the PlayStation 5

Matthew Hayes
Managing Director
Topic
I doff my cap

Welcome to the next instalment of the I Doff my Cap series, in which I continue to recognise brand marketing campaigns that have stood out from the noise and resonated with both myself and consumers. And today, I doff my cap to Sony.

Technology is by far one of the biggest industries in the world, and the global video game market continues to soar year on year.

And with the global gaming market expected to reach a value of over $256 billion by 2025, it is not slowing down anytime soon.

It is an industry that is filled with competition, so the race is always on to win over consumers and convert them from one console to another. And regardless of who won the top spot, I doff my cap to Sony and their genius marketing campaigns to celebrate the launch of their brand-new PlayStation 5.

Sony: over the years

Founded in 1946, Sony is the world’s second most successful consumer electronics maker with approximately $70 billion in worldwide sales.

A renowned innovator and industry leader, Sony has succeeded in all of its endeavours. From launching the very first CD player to the iconic Walkman, Sony has managed to stand out from its competitors and target such a varied and diverse audience.

Sony has achieved so much throughout their time on the market, and although their products and services may have changed over the years, one thing has always remained the same and that is their ability to create product lines that inspire and sell, often in millions.

More recently, Sony has created innovative and impactful marketing campaigns that have put them one step ahead of the game, such as their collaborative campaigns with Transport for London and Greggs for their newest release.

And now, Sony has got everybody talking with their latest marketing campaign for the UK launch of the PlayStation 5.

Anticipation is key

With a launch as big as this, the marketing campaign begins months in advance. And cleverly, it isn’t even done by the brand itself.

Over time, Sony has created such a loyal and dedicated fanbase, that each time they announce a new launch, the speculation and predictions that flood social media are almost enough marketing and promotional activity alone.

Games consoles are almost like chocolate. Most people are either a lover of Cadbury or Galaxy, and the same goes for PlayStation and Xbox. Everybody has a preference, much like Apple or Samsung.

And regardless of whether you prefer Sony or Microsoft, they have managed to ensure that all gamers and technology fanatics are on the edge of their seats waiting to see the latest design and specifications.

The launch of the console created such a buzz that price wasn’t even a deciding factor. Having sold out almost immediately, the only way consumers were able to get their hands on such a sought-after product was through secondary markets, such as StockX, a marketplace for street wear and trainers. With many of the listings being sold at a much higher cost, price is almost considered irrelevant.

Sony has become a master of creating such dramatic suspense and anticipation before even delving into their strategic marketing campaigns.

The power of emotion

Sony created a number of campaigns surrounding the launch of the PS5, all of which had a focus on emotion.

As I’ve mentioned in previous instalments of this series, emotion is absolutely pivotal when it comes to successful marketing campaigns.

It is almost impossible to create a powerful and impactful campaign without emotion in some capacity. It doesn’t always have to be in the form of sadness or joy, and one emotion that is often forgotten about is humour.

As part of their PlayStation 5 UK launch campaign, and the most impressive part of it, is that Sony has managed to inject a sense of humour, which is why I doff my cap.

Monumental launches such as this, come with a sense of expectation, and a rather high one at that.

Growing up, PlayStation was more than just a brand or a product, but an experience, too. And consumers associate the consoles with their childhood, so seeing the latest release brings with it a feeling of nostalgia. People are attached to technology and the memories that go with it.

By nature, gamers are typically playful, anti-authoritative and don’t take themselves too seriously and this campaign embodies all elements of their audience. Sony have focused on who their audience are, what they like and their personalities to create a clever resonance and subliminal brand messaging.

And whilst the campaign may not conform to the typical idea of emotion, there is most definitely an emotional bond between the product and the consumer. Games consoles provide consumers with the ability to create their own story, and there isn’t much else on the market that can do that.

PlayStation teamed up with the Transport for London to turn four Tube station signs into their iconic control buttons.

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the brand had cleverly thought about which four entrances they wanted to light up with their famous red circle, green triangle, pink square and blue cross.

PlayStation chose the entrances that were just a few steps away from Microsoft’s flagship store, where its competitor, the Xbox, lives. This campaign perfectly combined emotion and strategy, which was incredibly effective.

This part of the campaign got everybody talking, whether they are a direct consumer of the brand or not. It provoked many reactions across social media and was a true success. By going viral, Sony gained exponential coverage which was much greater than any they could have bought.

Expect the unexpected

What I love about this entire campaign, is the level of surprise that we have all encountered. Firstly, we witnessed the change in Tube station signs and then we were presented with a collaboration with the popular bakery chain, Greggs.

Creating a limited-edition box full of sweet and savoury treats, the Greggs & PlayStation Launch Box was a wonderful accompaniment for those that were fortunate enough to bag themselves a console. And for those that were not so fortunate, it made for a hilarious consolation prize.

Again, this collaboration with Greggs created an affinity among consumers, targeting specific customer personas whilst provoking a strong emotional reaction.

So, I doff my cap to Sony. For being incredibly innovative, for injecting emotion into their campaigns and for creating such a memorable experience for both consumers and fans of the brand.

They continue to strengthen their position in its marketplace, creating greater exposure of the brand and its products, which is why I doff my cap.

Matthew Hayes
Managing Director