On the one hand, the deal is an old-fashioned sponsorship arrangement, but Sony’s marketers are testing the waters and this could be an early move towards a new kind of advertising that “does” more than “says”.
Tradition broadcast messages, however elegantly crafted and delivered just don’t hit home like they used to. The digital consumer isn’t watching and has most likely made his own schedule on his Tivo. You can be pretty sure that schedule doesn’t include your 30-million-dollar spot with George Clooney and a cavalcade of Camargue stallions.
What’s potentially very cool about Sony’s move is the awareness it shows on their part.
As brands go, Sony probably has one of the busiest online personal publishing spaces. A quick Google reveals that Sony has legions of unofficial fan sites, user groups and forums (fora?) buzzing about them everyday. (For example, agoraquest.com, the unofficial site for Sony products has 60,000 active members cranking out Sony-related content daily).
It looks like Sony is connecting the dots. My guess is that as they begin to interact more closely with these online communities, their ad creative will follow.