Sony PlayStation partners with Mercedes Benz to engage gamers
Remember the time when you plugged in your video game to your television and punched the buttons tirelessly for hours and played yet another session of your favorite game? In recent times, Playstation and Xbox have revolutionized the experience of gaming altogether. Video games have transformed the dull living rooms into a racing arena or a football field.
Brands are capitalizing on this improved gaming experience by sponsoring gaming championships in order to connect with their target audience on the ground. Gamers from throughout the country converge at such events, making it an ideal platform for the brands to provide their target audience with memorable experiences.
Recently, two enterprising brands, Sony PlayStation and Mercedes-Benz, saw a marketing opportunity and collaborated for the promotion of Gran Turismo 6 game, which is one of the most popular franchises of the PlayStation family. In conversation with EE, Atindriya Bose, Country Head, Sony PlayStation India, shares his views on the importance of experiential marketing campaigns for his brand.
The Experiential Marketing activity calendar of PlayStation straddles two critical varieties, namely ‘Across the year PlayStation Zones’ in different selling outlets and innovative partnerships with various rental zones and ‘Experience Events’ in high footfall spots like shopping malls, schools, colleges, clubs etc. In line with this strategy, PlayStation partnered with Mercedes-Benz for a multi-city ‘Mercedes-Benz GT6 Racing Championship.’ The in-store racing challenge was organized across 42 PlayStation zones at Large Format retail store outlets including Landmark, Croma, Reliance and Jumbo and gaming outlets like Game4U, Zinklo and Gamineazy among others throughout the country.
“With the PlayStation brand, our strong belief is that ‘Every new gaming experience allows us to get a new gaming enthusiast’ and creating innovative opportunities for the target audience to experience the best of the games on our platform, forms the core of our marketing activities,” says Atindriya Bose. This experiential activity of the brand invited enthusiastic gamers to compete against each other on the Gran Turismo 5 game and race their best time on a specific track with the in-game Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. The Sony Playstation zones across key metro cities were vibrant with speed, thrill and technology as gamers competed for the top spot and a chance to fly down to Mumbai to have a final face off. The campaign was aimed at both hardcore as well as casual gamers.
The most important aspect of planning of such activities is to have a clarity regarding the competence of the gamers who will dominate these events. PlayStation focus on such details and thus allows for the most apt gaming titles and genres to be present in a particular event. “PlayStation as a brand has always been about providing the most immersive gaming experience. This is a brand value that can only be experienced first-hand and hence the marketing activities need to be aligned to the same. With our partnership with Mercedes-Benz, we were able to convert gamers’ aspiration into a reality. Gran Turismo 6 focuses on a high-end simulated driving experience. The campaign allowed us to offer a combination of the virtual and real life experience of driving one’s dream car. The GT6 branded Mercedes-Benz car was an opportunity to re-live the experience in real life as well,” says Atindriya Bose. The campaign ran for a period of two weeks and gathered a participation of 9500 racing enthusiasts.
In order to connect with the mass audience, coveted Grand Turismo branded Mercedezs-Benz cars, the SLS AMG and A-class, traveled the streets of Mumbai and Delhi, hence providing a glimpse of the exclusive and thrilling experience that the brands associate themselves with. As part of the campaign, radio ads ran alongside inviting people to click pictures and upload them on the Sony PlayStation India Facebook page. This initiative surpassed the previously targeted audience of gamers and reached the masses to establish Gran Turismo in the minds of people as a brand related to and identified with Mercedes-Benz.
Aiming to reach out to potential consumers and create an interactive experience for them, the brand organized the ‘Delhi Road’ event. Whilst most of the event was coordinated and executed by PlayStation, a Delhi based event agency, Ads-on-Wheels, was hired to set-up and undertake the activity. As part of the campaign, a PlayStation 3 setup equipped with Gran Turismo 5 and a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG parked alongside were set up at the Hauz Khas Village area for two days. The initiative, with strategic branding by Sony PlayStation and Mercedes-Benz, led to massive engagement and large scale traction.
In the Racing genre of gaming in particular, the brand has successfully rolled out the Gran Turismo Academy program in collaboration with Nissan. This is a global program being rolled out in India for the first time that allows participants to win in the virtual simulated racing environment on the PS3 and get an opportunity to be trained as an actual Racing car driver at the Gran Turismo Academy. Atindriya Bose signs off with a promise to continue to come up with such new programs, events and innovations around gaming on the experiential front.
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