LBi, London / SONY / 2012
Xperia Studio is a global programme of inspiring online content designed to give Sony’s Xperia smartphone brand an edge over big-budget rivals like Apple and Samsung.
Because the project lived primarily online, regulatory challenges were not a major consideration. However, we were determined to avoid the kind of branded entertainment that an increasingly relaxed regulatory climate has enabled in offline broadcasting: sponsorships, advertiser funded programming and product placement where brands are crudely inserted into programming that may say little about the brand, but are merely to gain eyeballs. Our belief was that if we could create compelling content in which Xperia smartphones played a legitimate role, we would prompt greater commitment in an audience than could be achieved with traditional advertising. Xperia Studio was no place for product demos – we wanted to tell inspiring stories with Xperia at their heart. We also believed that these stories would be most compelling if they were told with the help of other people. Every piece of Xperia Studio content was built around a collaborator with his or her own passions, voice and audience – artists, inventors, musicians, photographers and filmmakers. The advocacy of these collaborators was a key driver of the credibility of the programme.
Collaborators were encouraged to share project news via Facebook updates, tweets, pictures and video clips. Film crews cut key moments into short films: these became the main content pieces. The collaborators then shared these with their communities, along with the fruits of their projects – an app, a piece of music or another film.We wanted to encourage Xperia loyalists to share these stories too. We posted the films to Sony Mobile’s 6m-strong Facebook community – but also used social CRM tool Comufy to create a VIP group who were the first to receive the latest new Xperia Studio content.
To date Xperia Studio has created 23 films. Collectively they have generated 1.7m views. The total production budget has been less than $300,000.