Case Study: Love My Village, Love My Smartphone
At the end of 2010, Sony Ericsson wanted to reinforce communications and messaging surrounding the Xperia™ X8 Android smartphone that launched earlier that year in Italy. Sony Ericsson wanted to demonstrate the value and simplicity of the Xperia™ X8 to its broad consumer base, while positioning itself as a technology innovator in the growing Android market.
Taking into account the concept of a small but high performing smartphone, Burson-Marsteller suggested adopting a small village and giving all its inhabitants Xperia X8s with two months of free internet use. The team chose the tiny rural village of Villa Biscossi, Italy, with a population of 76 people, to become:
This concept would demonstrate how the Xperia X8 could help improve the quality of life of all citizens in Villa Biscossi, from the youngest to the oldest, from students to retailers. Villagers were given the smartphones at a large event in the village designed to celebrate the initiative. Sony Ericsson offered a “Smartphone School” to train all citizens on the functions and benefits of the smartphone and how its thousands of applications could help make their lives easier. Burson-Marsteller developed relationships with industry bloggers throughout the campaign and coordinated media relations for the event, as well as follow up coverage of the new Xperia™ X8 users and their progress with the smartphones.
Coverage of the event reached millions of Italians via television, radio, print publications, blogs and social networks. Due to this program, the Xperia™ X8 received notable buzz and visibility as an easy-to-use Android smartphone for everybody.