Nothing screams "We need to make more money" quite as loudly as a tech company using a leggy model with suspenders and a whip to sell its new ultra-thin TV. It also sets off our irrelevancy radar like nothing else. Enter Sony and its 'Thin Enough' campaign, featuring Katie Green.
For those of you with better things to do than worry about fashion -- yes, Twitter is more important -- you might not be aware of Miss Green. She is the model who, Sony tells us, was 'famously' told she needed to lose weight by her agency. She refused, and so here she is telling us size zero is okay, if you're a piece of consumer electronics.
The 40-inchcosts around £3,000, which is a little cheaper than the company's 11-inch OLED TV. So, it's clear that the goal here for Sony is to do everything it can to sell what is a very expensive TV during a massive global recession. It's also not much of a secret that Sony is having a rough time at the moment. It had to cut 8,000 jobs late last year and analysts suggest there will be further redundancies in the coming years.
Sony's main problem has been a distinct lack of innovation of late. When it comes to LCD TVs, the company hasn't led development in quite the way it used to. Instead it's been caught up in a race with Samsung to launch products featuring the same technology and claim exclusivity. At , both companies claimed to have the 'world's first' 200Hz televisions. Now both firms have an ultra-slim LED sidelight TV, although it's only Sony's TVs that have any wireless video transmission built-in.
The main area Sony does seem to be investing is OLED. Although the XEL1 is ludicrously over-priced, at least Sony can claim to have the first mass-production OLED screen in the market. And that's the Sony we want back: the innovator, the company that brought us the PlayStation and the Walkman. Not the one that bullied us into Blu-ray or the company that produced MP3 players that wouldn't play MP3s.
Yes Sony, the TV is thin, we get it. In fact, we got it when you told us it was as thin as a-- which it isn't. Is there any need to drag pretty models into consumer electronics? Wouldn't it be better if you sold the TV on its own merits, rather than an old-fashioned and slightly sexist campaign? We certainly can't see women identifying with this campaign, however Sony spins it. Crave got into trouble yesterday with its other half, who thought we were looking at naughty Web sites rather than doing our job!
Yes, we should have just ignored the press release, rather than giving it extra publicity. But then we wouldn't be able to claim moral superiority while still having pictures of a pretty girl on our site, would we?