Sony launched their W-Series Walkman in April 2013. It was a genuine break-through innovation in personal audio; an all-in-one MP3 player and headphone set that wasn’t just water-resistant, it was literally designed to be used underwater.
But, sales had been disappointing, and this remarkable innovation had reached only 35th place on Sony’s ‘popular product’ ranking.
Anyone into exercise of any kind knows how much better it is when you’re spurred on by your favourite music. Thanks to the W-Series, this could now include swimming.
A point-of-difference like this wasn’t just helpful for product sales. It could reinforce Sony’s brand reputation for innovation, and build retailer support across their range - and for future launches. But the biggest challenge was scale. The W-Series deserved an idea that would create excitement and buzz, and generate more coverage than the tiny budget could ever hope to buy; something beyond a simple rational message, standard advertising channels and product-launch techniques, to something far more surprising and unconventional in every way.
So, with high hopes and limited budget, the W-Series was re-launched with a revolutionary product demonstration and brand statement – inside full water bottles in vending machines at gyms and swimming pools.
NZ’s imagination was captured. Sales rose by a spectacular 348% and the W-Series leapt to number 3 position, right behind the mighty PS4.