Y&R Bows Playful Spot for Sony

Young & Rubicam will break a TV ad for Sony’s Discman during the Grammy Awards telecast on Feb. 24. The effort marks the first new work since Y&R won the $60 million U.S. electronics division account in October.
The spot for the portable compact disc player is set in a subway car, and shows a passenger listening to his Discman, sources said. He seems to be oblivious to his surroundings, including a pickpocket who takes his personal effects and clothing. When the thief reaches for the man’s headphones, however, the straphanger grabs his arm.
The ad ends with a shot of the Discman enthusiast on a subway platform, still absorbed in the music. The tagline is, “Let your mind play.”
Print ads use visual cues to underscore various product attributes, with “play” buttons superimposed on a human head, a frog (to promote an anti-skip feature) and a dolphin (for a waterproof model), sources said.
Sony is also planning TV and print ads for its new digital Handycam video camera with the theme, “Fast forward to the future.”
Spending on the two campaigns was not available, though a source estimated a budget of $20-25 million. Both Y&R and the Park Ridge, N.J.-based client declined comment.
Sony executives, led by Sony Corp. of America chairman Howard Stringer, have been under pressure to raise sagging profits. Their plans on how to get there have met skepticism at headquarters in Japan, said sources.
Globally, sales of Sony products, including electronics, games and music, fell 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter. As a result, Sony Corp.’s operating profits plunged 20 percent, leading to speculation that the U.S. unit would have to trim ad spending.