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“The Xperia Aquatech Store” case study

Effie Mena Awards

“The Xperia Aquatech Store” case study

The 2015 edition of the Effie MENA Awards saw 23 campaigns walk away with the Gold trophy. We caught up with the winning agencies and the judges to learn what made the campaign tick, what didn’t and everything else that went on in the jury room. However, this time we turned the tables around and let the agency guys take over our jobs and play journalists for a day as they asked the judges everything they wanted to about their campaigns.

In this article, jury member Serene Haddad, head of CCSD, Nestlé, and Tahaab Rais, regional head of planning, FP7 MENA, discuss Sony Mobile Communications’ “The Xperia Aquatech Store”.

Effie awards won:

2 Golds: Telecommunications/Mobile and Internet, and Retail and Luxury.

1 Bronze: Media Idea.

“The Xperia Aquatech Store” didn’t just win awards, it also set a world record for being the first underwater store. Clearly, the campaign stood out way before it made its way to the jury room. However, Haddad asserts that this didn’t influence the judges at all. “As a judge, you’re totally unbiased and if the campaign doesn’t meet the criteria – whether or not you personally liked it – it should become irrelevant,” she says.

One of the key winning factors is Sony Xperia’s intention to break through the clutter in a market dominated by Samsung and Apple, which, in Haddad’s opinion, “is a very bold objective”. The second factor was obviously the unconventional nature of the campaign. “It was a full sensorial experience that would get people to relate to the product benefits, so that it is top of mind, but not so in your face,” she says. The jury was rather impressed that the campaign overachieved its target of 90 percent stocks to be sold out, which then incentivized the sales people at the point of purchase, who weren’t initially motivated. It’s also worth noting that the target was to get 50 percent incremental sales from higher income brackets – the campaign achieved 70 percent. “People with higher disposable income are very tech-savvy and tend to do a lot of homework and are quite particular about what they buy. So, the fact that they made that switch and picked Sony versus other high-value brands [is] a big achievement,” says Haddad.

Although happy with the Golds, Rais wonders what could’ve been done to win in the Shopper Marketing – especially considering it won in Retail and Luxury – and Brand Experience categories. Haddad explains that Shopper Marketing is a tricky category due to the several factors involved. One of the key learnings for FP7 here is that the experience was available only to a select few for a very short period of time. “If you could’ve brought that [experience] to life from a sensorial perspective – even a few of those senses – in-store, it would’ve connected the circle of shopper marketing,” she says.

Most campaigns that win in the Brand Experience category are true to the brand equity, says Haddad. “They always sign off and remind consumers what the brand is all about,” she says, adding that, while the campaign provided a great experience, it missed a connection to the brand truth of Sony.


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