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PlayStation Vita U.S. marketing campaign cost $50 million

Back in January Sony's UK marketing manager Mark Bowles told MCV that Sony was gearing up for what they consider to be the "biggest campaign" they've ever executed with the PlayStation Vita.  But just how big will it be?

According to the New York Times, Sony will reportedly spend about $50 million marketing their new PS Vita handheld in the United States.

Sony's "Never Stop Playing" campaign for the Vita will include advertising mediums like television commercials, billboards, retail partnerships, digital banner ads.

Last month, we began to see the first of Sony's marketing ideas. The first 30 or so seconds of the Resident Evil Retribution trailer featured tons of Sony product placement, including a clip of a woman holding up a PlayStation Vita saying, "My name is Anna and this is my world."

Speaking to the NY Times, Jason Elm, the executive VP and creative director at Deutsch - the company responsible for creating the Vita's campaign - mentioned the "significant presence" the Vita will have in social media, including taking advantage of the Twitter hashtag to generate organic promotion for the new system.

Using the hashtag #gamechanger on Twitter, the company will direct consumers to the Vita's website, playstation.com/psvita, where consumers can learn more about the system and make a purchase.  Using the single hashtag will "aggregate" all conversations people are having regarding the Vita into a single, unified place.  Sony isn't stopping with Twitter, though.  On the PlayStation Facebook page, users will find a Vita tab that will feature how-to videos about the device.  According to Elm, it's all part of a strategy to target a audience that's "very socially plugged in, mobile, out and about, both physically and on the Internet."

Other campaign ideas include actually getting the Vita into consumer's hands.  Obviously you want the customers to experience the Vita which will hopefully persuade them to make a purchase.  Last month, PlayStation Access began a PlayStation Vita pre-launch tour, bringing "Vita Rooms" to various cities around the UK.  These Vita Rooms included dozens of Vita's and all the best games for users to experiment with.  In America, Sony is calling them "Vita Social Clubs", but the idea is still the same.

In addition, other marketing techniques will include commercials during core consumer programs like "The Simpsons," "South Park" and "Tosh.O".  Online banner ads will run on some of the largest websites including Yahoo, ESPN, CNN, and YouTube.  Major U.S. cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco will contain billboards and wallscapes.  Sony is even turning to the iconic radio voice Howard Stern to broadcast for the Vita.

All of this is used to market the upcoming handheld to "men in their 20s who play video games eight hours a week or more and own a PS3 console".  Although it sounds like a pretty niche market, Sony has also gone on record saying the Vita's campaign will target "the new generation of tech enthusiasts and entertainment consumers who are used to playing games on their smartphones or tablets."

Regardless of the audience, one thing is clear: The PlayStation Vita needs to be successful in the U.S. and Europe.  Despite the high expectations set for the Vita, sales in Japan have been lackluster.  Although it seems low,  President of Sony's Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, said in an interview with GameInformer, it is apparently "within their expectation."  Of course, his reasons were that the launch titles appeal more to Western markets.  With the Vita about a week away, and some getting their pre-orders this week, we'll soon see if his hunch holds true.

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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Games: PS Vita

Tags: Sony

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