When, in early 2013, Sony Mobile revealed its new flagship phone, the Xperia Z, it was clear that everyone will be watching and that the company will have to face strong competition. Everyone’s expectations were high, triggered by the promise of a long-standing brand that had just come out of an internal reorganization after Sony had separated from its former partner Ericsson.

Things were not looking good for the new phone, which had to regain ground in brand awareness and leadership. But the fact that Sony Ericsson, a strong brand in the mobile phone market, was now named Sony was also a communication opportunity that emerged from all the innovations the parent company was revealing. And yes, there were real innovations: Xperia Z was the first premium phone of the 4G era, it was waterproof, brought new technologies that Sony had already tested in its TV sets and cameras, and it was much more.

What we wanted was to create a powerful differentiator for the phone, which was to battle with other major manufacturers that, in turn, flaunted their products’ qualities. Also, we wanted to show that the new Sony phones are really bold and innovative.

The idea we started from was based on rigorous research, which included a thorough examination of the phone. The winning idea: Xperia Z can live in a bowl of water!

Fishy KIT

This is how “the Z experiment, like a fish in water” was born. Three fish, Zoie, Zoro and Zidane, toured the newsrooms in their bowl, along with the Xperia Z, and journalists were invited to take care of their water-breathing friends. The kit consisted of a bowl, a fish, a phone, colored sand and a message from one of the fish. For journalists, the surprise was even greater: they had the opportunity to test a phone they eagerly expected and we were proving to them from the very start that yes, the phone can live under water.

Campaign Results

  • Over 20 detailed presentations of the Xperia Z phone following hands-on tests, in print and online.
  • Over 100 news reports (TV, print, and online) showcasing the phone and its waterproof characteristics, with an estimated audience of 5,700,000 impressions.
  • Over 200,000 estimated impressions on Facebook. A single post garnered over 200 likes, 40 comments, and 17 shares.
  • Within the first months since its launch in Romania, Xperia Z became one of Sony’s best-selling smartphones.