Sony Takes Over Oxford Circus

Organisers: Sony, Transport for London

What it is:

When coming up with a strategy to market the new PlayStation 5 in the UK, some bright spark noticed that the iconic circular symbols for the London Underground look just the same as the red circle button on a PlayStation controller. This led Sony to collaborate with Transport for London (TfL) in “taking over” Oxford Circus tube station for 48 hours. The other three button shapes on the PlayStation controller (a cross, a square and a triangle) appeared as temporary underground signs at street level alongside the classic “O” symbol, while the interior of the Tube station was decorated with the well-known shapes. The temporary signs were erected at night and stood outside the Tube stop for 48 hours before being put on permanent display at Sony’s London headquarters.

Photos: Sony UK

Why we like it:

This is a great example of marketing creating a subliminal association in the minds of consumers. The signs themselves were only up for 48 hours, but the association of the London Underground symbol with the PlayStation controller will last much, much longer. The initiative exploits the fundamental principle that people trust – and choose – the brands which they know and recognise on a day-to-day basis. With London’s 10 million inhabitants seeing circular tube signs every day and the symbols instantly recognisable throughout the UK, Sony forged a creative association, in the minds of consumers, between PlayStation and everyday life – this is truly powerful marketing.

PR Guru comment:

“Stunts in public spaces have great PR potential, requiring little money but creating great impressions and organic content generation on social networks. Stunts in places with a large, continuous flow of people are doubly effective. But the most important thing is having a great idea – something simple, funny and immediately recognisable. Sony’s PlayStation 5 PR stunt in the London Underground has all these characteristics.”

– Filip Hrubý

Filip Hrubý is Head of External Communications and Spokesperson at Česká spořitelna