Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Onion: Sony Releases New Stupid Piece Of Shit That Doesn't Fucking Work

Heh, you’d be amazed how many people sent this to me yesterday.


It’s good to see Sony refocusing on their core competency.

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1 comment:

Brian J Munro said...

OK. I can't resist because there is such a great cautionary tale in this story. I'll understand if don't post this but I KNOW you'll appreciate it.

In the late 90's I was attending a "sony store®" manager's meeting in Victoria, BC. The erstwhile retail arm of Sony of Canada had just undergone a lengthy search for a new ad company and having finally signed their new "wunderkids" - a duo out of Toronto (go figure) - they were rolling out their ad campaign for that year's Christmas season.

The new guys were edgy and hip, and the ads were nicely off kilter with a definitely self-deprecating slant on the humor. The ad guys handed out black ball caps with a fizzing stick of dynamite embroidered on the front - an allusion to their own "dynamite" advertising savvy no doubt.

The retail division upper management had thought they had scored a major coup in getting then senior VP Ted Kawai to attend our little west coast soiree. For so long the truly top brass at Sony had been anything from dismissive to downright hostile towards the retail chain that Mr. Kawai's presence was seen as a vindication if not endorsement of "the sony store's" existence.

One oversight though, was not running the new ad campaign by Mr. Kawai before it was introduced to the whole group after a well-lubricated supper.

The presentation was dynamic and entertaining, and the managers got the humor, but a few of us noticed that the laughter wasn't extending the the head management table where Mr. Kawai was seated. When he finally came scowling to the microphone he made his point quite clear. The one quote I remember clearly to this day was, "Sony is no joke!".

Two rounds later a couple of the wittier managers were wearing their ball caps with the brims bent upwards in half like they had run into a brick wall wearing them. The idea caught on. Even later in the night I saw the ad guys with our marketing team hunched over a table together in deep and serious discussion - between them the corpses of at least three bottles of scotch.

It was strange to me as I had seen the brilliant ad campaign that Sony had mounted in Great Britain in the 80's starring the inimitable John Cleese (well worth hunting down on YouTube). Humour was DEFINITELY part of that campaign. And Sony of America had recently launched the great TV ad where a man steals his neighbour's Sony TV box to set it in front of his own house on garbage pick up day.

I guess there are two lessons here:

One is NEVER launch an ad campaign until you are sure EVERYBODY in power in the company loves it and approves of it.

The second one is, if you try to develop a sense of humour about your own brand, and even manage that humour well, you probably won't have people making this kind of satire about you when you screw up. And if they do, at least you'll already have learned to laugh at yourself.

'Nuff Said!