Sony: Xperia Vs the Northern Lights




Sony is a household name when it comes to consumer electronics, however it’s a challenger brand in the relentlessly competitive smartphone market.

In order to be among the top three brands people consider when choosing a phone, it’s essential to spread the word online. This is where people research ahead of purchase, and where brands earn the right to be viewed as a credible option.

Supporting the introduction of the new Sony Xperia Z smartphone, DigitasLBi was tasked with creating an initiative to keep building product awareness post-launch – specifically online among the curious-minded, technology-loving target audience.

The key challenge was to stand out from the existing plethora of online branded content in a way that was true to Sony’s philosophy: inspiring wonder and emotional response through technology. And all with minimal paid media support.


DigitasLBi developed ‘Xperia Vs…’, an online branded content programme that aimed to extend the target audience’s awareness of the new Sony Xperia Z and to encourage them to find out more about the phone.

The initiative consists of a series of online video films in which ambassadors from the creative industries put features of the new phone to the test in interesting ways.

For ‘Xperia Vs the Northern Lights’, the first group of chosen ambassadors – members of the bands OK Go and Pyyramids, and the photographer Martien Mulder travelled to northern Sweden to capture the sights and sounds of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis).

They used Sony Xperia Z smartphones and tablets to capture their inspiration, and then used the Xperia Z’s one-touch connectivity feature to bring their work together, resulting in a four-minute track ‘From Under Other Stars’.

DigitasLBi also created a series of in-depth, making-of films demonstrating the process and the technology involved.

Designed to appeal to the motivations of consumers with an interest in what’s new and exciting, along with a love of technology and its possibilities, the full series of films from the trip was hosted on Sony Mobile’s YouTube channel.


Within a week of release:

  • #1 most shared video on Facebook and Twitter in last 24 hours – UK
  • #3 most viewed YouTube video in last 24 hours – UK
  • #1 most popular YouTube video in ‘Entertainment’ – UK
  • #1 most popular YouTube video in ‘All Categories’ – UK

Within seven months:

  • 500,000+ unique views
  • 1,000 new Sony YouTube channel subscribers

The ‘Xperia Vs’ series is essentially a product demonstration on steroids. It’s a chance for us to put the device to the test in truly surprising ways, and see if it survives to tell the story. Tech always forms the backbone to these stories, and in this instance we put the Xperia in the hands of musicians and photographers and sent them to the Arctic Circle.  Their mission? To create a one-of-a-kind audiovisual experience, using only the features of the phone, especially connectivity. A soundtrack to the Northern Lights was born. The result was a stunning, shareable piece of branded content and was supported by an innovation tale that spoke directly to our tech-curious audience.

Simon Attwater, Group Creative Director, DigitasLBi


With little paid media support, the Sony Xperia Vs Northern Lights online videos spread the message of the new smartphone to a vast new audience.

By understanding the audience, creating a strategy that spoke to their interests, and developing branded content that was new and innovative, DigitasLBi produced a campaign that exceeded expectations.

This case study was originally published in the 2014 Edition of Best of Branded Content Marketing (BOBCM), co-edited by Justin Kirby and Greta MacFarlane.

About the author

Justin Kirby is a consultant, educator and thought leader with a 20+ year career in industry as a digital strategist, producer and entrepreneur. He chairs and speaks at conferences around the globe, judge industry awards, and advise brands and agencies.