Sony Australia has created a video campaign “to ‘out’ those with DSLR gear and no idea”, subtly suggesting they would be better served with one of the company’s mirrorless compact cameras rather than a full-size DSLR.
The videos, available on YouTube, use a series of stereotypes that paint a wide variety of casual photographers in a foolish light. The videos are clearly light-hearted, but go some way to marginalising enthusiastic camera users that have spent thousands of dollars on their purchases.
A long-haired, vest-and-tie-wearing photographer waxes lyrical about the quality of his brand-unnamed-but-we-all-know-it’s-a-Canon telephoto lens, a fashionably-dressed young lady leans over a flower for a macro shot with a large DSLR, and a bulky backpack-toting tourist walks through a yum cha restaurant annoying people with close-up flash photographs:
Comments and like/dislike statistics are disabled on the videos, although the main video has had over 100,000 views in the last two days. A guest commenter on PetaPixel wrote: “pretty coward [sic] of Sony to disable comments on YouTube and not mentioning anywhere that those videos are made by them.”
The videos don’t explicitly mention Sony at any point, with the only indication being a link in the videos’ description, saying “Find out more: http://www.sony.com.au/productcategory/nex-camera”. The Sony NEX product website didn’t mention the video series by the time of publication.
There is no obvious advertisement of the Sony NEX cameras’ supposedly more appropriate feature-set in the video campaign, and no mention of whether buyers of Sony’s more traditional DSLR-style ‘SLT’ cameras are guilty of the same offences.
Another PetaPixel commenter said that the videos were offensive: “That's a great way to alienate your customers. Well done Sony for making me never want to associate with you.”
Commenter ‘mansgame’ sums up his feelings: “Funny...except Sony makes DSLRs too and they are behind everybody else and will be forever. If the time comes when wedding photographers have little NEX cameras... instead of DSLRs then Sony can talk.”
Professional photographer Jack Chauvel told PC World that it was ironic that such an ad would come from a company like Sony: “It’s funny, because the people who are most likely to have no idea and splash out on gear are those who are going to buy the overpriced Sony A system or NEX series of cameras.”
Only a few years ago, Sony’s Alpha line-up of digital SLRs were largely regarded as the go-to for enthusiastic camera buyers with more money than sense — with less market penetration than Nikon or Canon, Sony digital SLRs were sold at generally higher prices and traded on the Sony brand name that otherwise-uneducated buyers would associate with premium quality and features.
These situations are obvious exaggerations of what enthusiastic amateur photographers do — there’s always a situation where someone looks slightly goofy just because they are passionate about taking a nice picture. Sony risks alienating exactly the buyers it is trying to target with this parody.
This isn’t all you’ll see from Sony — in an email, PC World was told to “watch out for more to come on this campaign next week.”
What do you think of the videos? Do you think they're funny, or do they make you feel like a fool? Let us know in the comments below.