Despite Insensitivity, PS3 Amazon Sales Soar

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Recent Sony news presents an interesting case study in the difference between advertising and marketing. For just as the company was marginalizing yet another group of people and offending the politically correct, sales of PlayStation 3 soar upon price cuts.

Before Sony was anywhere near launching the PS3, the gaming crowd was salivating. Their mouths dried up when they learned the price, and realized they could buy an Xbox 360 and a Wii for the same amount of money.

Worse, they had to delay the launch because the price of the muscle-bound machine would have been $300 more than it was when a slightly lower-tech version was released too late for Christmas.

Meanwhile, Xbox and the Wii sell out everywhere. Two years ago, people had expected it to be a battle between Microsoft and Sony, between Blu-Ray and HD DVD. And they were part right. PS3 all but disappeared from the radar when Wii came out of nowhere because of its sheer funness (and much less expensive price tag).

There are other factors perhaps impacting a renewed interest in the PS3 – Blu-Ray seems to be pulling ahead of HD DVD, Xbox 360’s are breaking down all over the place – but the biggest reason seems to correlate with the price.

PS3 Fanboy reports that after Sony dropped the price of its 60 GB PS3 by $100, sales on Amazon.com spiked by 2800 percent.

This happened despite growing discontent with Sony‘s ad campaigns from different racial, religious, and feminist entities. You might remember the weird "White is coming" ad that raised eyebrows in the Netherlands, or the 10th anniversary sacrilegious "passion" campaign they ran in Italy (right next door to the Pope, no less!).

More recently, they’ve raised eyebrows in India (note: they seem bright enough at Sony not to run these ads in the hypersensitive, protest-happy US). The ad is for the PS2 (because of the PS3 price, I gather?) and carries the slogan: Because your girlfriend bores you shitless.

It shows a young guy snoozing as his girlfriend goes on and on and on about, well, nothing much at all.

Stop laughing. Feminist blogger Jess McCabe says it’s not funny. It’s misogynistic:

I’ve just switched my loyalty from PlayStation to Nintendo (my partner bought me a Wii a couple of weeks ago), partly because of other reasons, but also because of the never-ending series of insulting and annoying ads that Sony feels are appropriate to advertise its consoles. Surely we can’t be the only ones turned off by this?

Well, maybe. Like I said, sales are up, and that ad, to my knowledge, isn’t running in the States. Even then, that doesn’t seem like that all uncommon of a joke, or to be discriminatory – I’m sure Sony’s blind to gender when it comes to sales. Besides, nobody’d complain if it said: Because your boyfriend doesn’t satisfy you.

Well, I’d complain because it’s not as funny. Maybe it needs a good foreplay pun.

Regardless, we’re talking about it now, so it serves a purpose that is beneficial to Sony in the end. But that’s what Sony does right: branding. These ads have not done enough damage to the overall branding efforts to affect sales. What Sony has done wrong in this instance is not give the market what it wants, when it wants it, and for how much it wants to pay.

If Sony had released this console in late November at this price, they could have run an ad that said "Santa is dead, but buy a PS3 anyway," and it would have outsold everything else. That’s because it’s a combination of things, including buzz, good or bad, that drives the right product in the right market.

The situation in India seems to be the result of targeting, not misogyny. The other two bad examples are just stupidity.

If you take nothing else from all of this remember these things for successful marketing:

1.    Product
2.    Target
3.    Awareness
4.    Timing
5.    Price

And the rest, unless you get found out for making leather bags out of puppy skin, should fall into place.

Despite Insensitivity, PS3 Amazon Sales Soar
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  • Numanthia

    This is a very weird article. Basically it is all about just critizing and attacking Sony.

    I have friends in all three countries to which Sony has, allegedly, been insensitive and it is just BS. Sony is no different than any other global company and is bound to have some situation go awry that is truly a bad situation. The only one that really was crazy was the promo company in Italy that had the goat and it was not with Sony’s knowledge.

    The recent price drop and the Blu-ray free movie promo has let the genie out of the bottle. People have wanted the ps3 far more than the xbox products but they just wanted a break in the price and Sony gave it to them. It is just a gaming console/media center/next gen Blu-ray player but it is the best one in the world and everybody knows it. And if you want the best you have to pay for the best don’t expect to get the worlds best of anything for mass market pricing, hell look at the ipod they have sold for as much as close to $800 when new and where were the articles critizing it?

    It may have been the in thing to attack the PS3, but now it is just uncool and uneducated so slow down Jason and get on board with the rest of the world or just get left behind.

    • Jason Lee Miller

      I think you missed the point of my article and that’s my fault as the communicator. My point was that the negative response didn’t matter much, in the end it was about product, targeting and price points. That’s what kept Sony behind its competition, which the new price should help it to catch up.

      But thanks for reading.



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