Sony Ericsson - The sky's the limit for Sony

Sony Ericsson needed to increase market share among 18-24 year olds across Europe, and aimed to do so by promoting its Walkman range of handsets with the brand proposition 'music on the move'.

The firm faced two challenges: the varied media habits of this group meant they were a tough audience to engage with, and second, the activity was to run across 14 European markets, requiring something with a wide enough appeal to succeed in all.


Iris's profiling of the target audience showed them to be 'pioneers' and 'mainstream materialists'.

"What Sony Ericsson had done before didn't feel right this time - individual sponsorships and free downloads all felt tired," says Cameron Day, business director at iris Experience. Sony wanted "something different to engage with this audience, to shake things up".

Iris came up with A Gig in the Sky - a one-off concert for 200 people taking place on a private jet flying at 37,000 feet between Munich and Athens, followed by another gig in Athens.

Activity focused on a competition to win tickets, promoted in-store, on-pack and online, as well as though press and PR. Iris devised a creative identity and material for the campaign that individual markets could adapt.


Sony Ericsson got internationally popular band Jamiroquai to do the gig - fittingly, frontsman Jay Kay had also helped the brand launch the first Walkman phone in 2005.

In-store, point-of-sale activity promoted the competition, including branded interactive demo handsets and giveaway mock-up tickets. A microsite was also set up, where customers could enter the competition. Each local market also received seven 'golden tickets' that they could offer to customers.

The event took place on 27 February 2007, with 200 people winning tickets to the Gig in the Sky, which included transport to and from the event with hotel accommodation, and a further 500 attending the gig in Athens.

"It created all sorts of challenges," says Day. "A whole load of musical instruments can't run on plane power, so we had to design batteries for them, while the biggest challenge was getting everyone through airport security for the gig in Athens."


The campaign delivered a five per cent market share increase across Europe. The competition site received more than a million hits in the first two weeks, and the PR value across all markets reached £5m, with 60 per cent of those exposed to the campaign saying they would buy a Walkman phone in the next six months.

The event also managed to break six Guinness world records, including highest gig in a plane and highest recording.

Brand: Sony Ericsson
Client: Sony Ericsson Europe
Brief: To promote Sony Ericsson Walkman mobile handsets and increase
overall market share
Target audience: 18-24-year-old music lovers
Budget: £1.5m
Agencies: Iris Experience, Iris London and Iris Digital


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