Sony- Like No Other?
How ATRAC3 will roll out in the industry is unclear. While the licensing is open and available, "We are not necessarily pursuing it aggressively," says Novelli. And Sony overall seems to be dismissing the concern that consumer confusion is imminent (if not here already). "Competition in technology makes things better," claims Komiyama. The hard disk players will begin shipping to retailers at the end of July and on sale at the beginning of August. Novelli said that, soon, other Sony products will support ATRAC3, including 12-Volt head units and CD players.
The players will be at the center of a "Walkman Reborn" campaign, which hopes to recapture the success of the company's famous cassette tape Walkman. This campaign is part of an even grander marketing effort, donned, "Like No Other." Mark Viken, senior vice president, corporate marketing, said that the campaign has already started with print and Internet advertising, with TV spots following in August. "We are doubling our spending this [fiscal] year in our marketing and communications," he says. Televised spots will include four famous recording artists, the first of which will be Macy Gray, singing a cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" (made available later exclusively at Connect.com).
These marketing efforts seem to match the company's goal of attracting one of its target demographics, the 18 to 34 year old crowd. But it is also seeking more direct contact with the its customer base as well, through the direct retail channel. "Understanding consumer needs has changed," says Komiyama. "Direct contact with the consumer is very important."