Sony Vaio has launched yet another commercial with Kareena Kapoor, yet again focussing on the variety of colours available for their laptops. Watch below the current as well as last commercial on the theme by Sony:
Current Commercial: (Ignore the video title – a classic case of web-tags based advertisement)
Now, there are several things that come to mind when I see these ads. Interestingly, the marketeers have got some elements right and some wrong (in my view, of course):
What they have done correctly is to try and talk about something apart from performance. There are several parameters to measure a laptop’s functionality and every laptop-maker can claim excellence on something or the other. Hence, competing on performance won’t help.
Dell pulled customers towards itself by offering hardware customizability options (configure your own laptop), and excellent post-purchase customer service. Hence, they too have won customers over by talking about parameters other than performance.
Sony has tried to do the same, when they talk about the laptop colours and designs, projecting a laptop as a fashion accessory and a lifestyle element. Moving away from performance could be likened to a move up the Brand Ladder, shifting focus from functional hooks to emotional ones.
The idea was perfect, the execution, far from it.
The colours that Sony has come out with are all bright and glossy colours. Now, in India. an average customer has a laptop for professional usage, while for personal usage he/she tends to keep a desktop at home. Very rarely would he/she have two different laptops for different purposes. So, ultimately, if one has a laptop, it is very likely that it will be put to professional use. Watch the ad and ask yourself – Would you ever carry a yellow or flourescent green coloured laptop to office?
It would have been brilliant had the colours been dark, muted, professional colours such as the dark blues, dark greens, grays etc, even if they had some stripes or checks on them.
The Go Vivid campaign would put off most of the serious laptop users. And laptops aren’t inexpensive enough to experiment with as one would a fashion accessory. People don’t switch laptops as rapidly in India as they do abroad.
Note: An off chance could be that they have chosen such colours to woo the female customers, because these colours have a generally common liking among women rather than men. But even then, I doubt whether even ladies would like to carry these colours to office! Feminism and Professionalism are entirely different things!
2. Message Clarity:
To me, the message that was conveyed in the current ad is that Sony has launched Laptop Skins in India. Skins are quite popular abroad and afford a lot of designs to be put up on the laptops in the form of thin laminates. Hence, the skins provide a lot of flexibility in the designs your laptop sports. I thought that this customizability was being presented as the natural USP of the skins. Quite frankly, I was delighted about it!
It was some seconds later that I realized with dismay that the ad was showing off yet another set of vivid colours in which Sony Laptops were now available. I think the message was a bit more clear in the older ad, while this ad simply complicates the matters too much. It seems to say that laptop exterior colours can be easily changed depending on environment, which, of course, is not the case..
3. Logistics at Retail Outlets:
On a hunch, I visited a Sony Vaio showroom today in Delhi, and unsurprisingly, not all colours of the X-Series Laptops were available at the outlet. As per demand, the specific laptop colours would have to be ordered. Now, for a Rs 40,000+ investment, wouldn’t you like to see the colour with naked eye first, instead of ordering it based on how it looks on TV or a catalog? This logistics issue had to crop up, and I hope they can devise some solution for this, else it would be a let down to the ‘colour-conscious’ crowd.
(P.S.: I would point out that the Skins option would remove any such issue, and even provide customer with a lot of choice and customizability, but alas, who listens to us! )
All-in-all, a let down of an ad, which had great potential to be a trendsetter campaign. With a brand ambassador with as much equity as Kareena does, and as much association that she enjoys with Vaio now, there were a lot of opportunities which went unexplored.
Next Up: Hajmola spoofs Chlormint !!