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November 7, 2008

Mobile phone giant launches Halloween-themed online experience

Sony Ericsson recently launched an innovative, interactive viral campaign and microsite experience to drive awareness of the new Sony Ericsson Walkman W595 mobile phone handset in the run-up to Halloween.

Targeted at 15 to 24-year-olds, who use their phone for entertainment, sharing files with friends and messaging each other via the internet, the viral campaign aimed to draw the viewer in using classic scary movie cues before a dramatic final climax to build a buzz around the handset, and reinforce its brand message: “The phone designed for fun.”

Entitled St Mary’s Ghost, the viral element is part of the latest phase of Sony Ericsson’s ‘Beating boredom’ for the W595. The browser window shows a split-screen of four night-time CCTV views of a hospital interior. In one streaming, a night watchman sits at a desk watching a computer screen but is startled when his mobile phone rings.

Scare and share: A still from Sony Ericsson's Halloween viral video

The viewer watches as he ends the call, rests the phone on the desk and goes to investigate. Upon finding nothing, he gets into the lift to head back to his office. His mobile phone rings on his desk while he is in the lift and the viewer is left to come to their own conclusion as a terrifying force takes over his office and the screen switches to a close-up of the mobile’s caller display, which shows the viewer’s name and number. After a moment, the viewer’s own mobile phone rings and when they answer, they hear the eerie sounds of the scene they are watching in front of them.

At the end of the viral, Sony Ericsson asks the viewer to “Share and Scare” their friends by entering their details, thus sending the viral on, giving the sender the opportunity to win a W595 handset.

In addition to this free prize draw, there is a YouTubeanimation that shows users how to use the W595’s YouTube upload tool. A unique offering from Sony Ericsson and 3, the application gives users the ability to create and share their own videos on YouTubeTM in just three clicks. There will also be an e-shot sent out to existing Sony Ericsson customers, directing them to the microsite www.stmarysghost.com.

The digital campaign has been supported by direct mailings of phone socks containing guides on features of the W595, as well as in-store promotions and experiential activity, all created by marketing agency Iris. YouTube and Sony Ericsson’s sites are two of several that will be taken over with graphics for the campaign, but these two sites have the additional bonus of featuring demo videos. Further online and press advertising have been supporting the campaign.

“Our task was to make the YouTube proposition of this unique product meaningful to our audience,” explained Brendan Johnston, head of marketing, global customer unit, Hutchison, Sony Ericsson. “We’ve done this in a number of ways, however, the ‘extra step’ we took was to exploit technology with a new interactive viral campaign. The viral is compulsive viewing and leaves viewers with no choice but to forward the message and ultimately the product onto their friends.”

Iris created the thriller-style viral to fit in with the Sony Ericsson brand values of energised experiences.

"The experience that people have had with this campaign was the perfect way to communicate the major benefit of the W595 handset and also the Sony Ericsson brand values,” said Matt Hollingsworth, Iris group account director. “Initial uptake has been excellent.”

The video assets have been made available to nearly 600 sites across the UK and Italy, with an emphasis on tech, lifestyle and mobile sites. A 'spooky' chart has been created on the Viral Video Chart, which has enabled Unruly Media to identify and contact influential bloggers in the space to initially make them aware of the campaign, and also invite them to host the content on a commercial basis.

The most recent figures reveal the success of the campaign, with more than 337,203 views of the viral element having been recorded, with a high click-through rate of 13.8%, along with over 70,000 microsite visits and in excess of 96,000 page views.

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