Apple inspiring 'non-PC' PCs
Sony is apparently trying to hitch a ride on Apple's bandwagon, at least in Australia so far, by attempting to remove the 'PC' moniker from their branding. On the VAIO C C Series product page for Sony Australia, Sony is not only using a "non-pc pc" slogan, but also a bizarre Flash movie directly inspired (right down to the costumes) by Apple's Get A Mac campaign, complete with a third VAIO character. The interactivity is strange because it doesn't seem to do anything - the three characters simply turn around and offer, uh, *strange* sound effects - not even catch phrases or complete sentences. The movie itself, however, is a clear sign that Sony is trying to separate its brand from the rest of the industry in the same way Apple does. Think about it: everyone, including Apple, makes PCs (i.e. - Personal Computers), but Apple makes Macs, and now Sony makes VAIOs. If we momentarily disregard the fundamentals at play here - such as Apple having a truly unique software platform, while Sony uses Windows like the rest of the industry they're trying to banish to the uncool kid's corner - this is a serious branding move for a company like Sony to make, even if it seems, at least for now, this is only done in Sony's Australian branch.
In a way, I can't blame them for trying this out. After a detrimental year of exploding batteries, selling security-trampling Windows rootkits, embarrassingly low PS3 shipments and even a digicam recall, Sony could use a fresh change of pace. Unfortunately, I don't think they offer enough to have any chance of differentiating themselves and, more importantly, overriding the culturally understood definition of 'PC' to achieve some sort of cool factor. Sure, Sony has some impressive hardware, and they make some of their own unique software packages that do iLife-type stuff. Sadly, you'd be hard-pressed to find a journalist, amateur blogger or even a Mr. Consumer who can use Sony's apps without being overtaken by soul-wrenching pain.
At the end of the day, Sony still uses Windows, which means they can't wash away the negative connotations with unimaginative marketing and a wish for things to get better.
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