While everyone who reads this site has likely heard of the PlayStation Vita, the truth of the matter is that the average consumer probably hasn’t heard much about the device, and definitely doesn’t know what is unique about the handheld.
So that’s why the lack of advertising running up to the Vita launch has been rather disappointing. The SuperBowl would have obviously been a huge opportunity for Sony to showcase the Vita, possibly running Madden – how many major product launches are lucky enough to come out during the SuperBowl month? But it’s understandable that Sony didn’t decide to go with a SuperBowl ad as each 30 second spot costs millions of dollars and goes up against some of the best made ads of the year.
But normal TV ads shouldn’t be that big of a problem for a company that has already invested millions in R&D, game development and producing devices. Of course, in the US, Taco Bell are running a Vita ad about their cross promotion giveaway with Sony:
Unfortunately, the ad is flawed – the ad is also focusing on Taco Bell, it uses ModNation Racers characters which aren’t known to the masses, does nothing to explain what the Vita is, doesn’t say that it has a back (or even front) touch pad, or highlight how powerful it is. The blurry shots of the Vita look just like the PSP and the ad uses just as much screentime for a mobile phone.
There’s a reason companies advertise products before release – Resident Evil 6 is being advertised right now, despite releasing in November – it means that hype is built up amongst consumers, they can preorder ahead of release and plan their purchasing decision in advance: something that is especially important for an expensive device that many consumers can’t buy on a whim. It also means that retailers can be confident that the product will be a success, and so dedicate more shelf space to it.
So with that in mind, when is Sony set to properly advertise the Vita? Jeff Rubenstein revealed on the PS Blog:
We’ll show [the Sony Vita ads] on the blog right before they air on TV, and they’ll be timed for system launch.
While Sony has definitely left the ad campaign till the last minute, he did also tease:
You’ll be seeing them – they’ll be everywhere once they start ^_^
A strong launch advertising campaign could do wonders for the Vita, but Sony have promised big advertising campaigns before, only to fail to deliver. With some analysts, developers and publishers unsure whether the dedicated handheld market can support the Vita, one thing is for sure – it could really do with some advertising.
Would you want Kevin Butler to be promoting the Vita, or should they use someone/something else? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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