Magnus poses the following burning question. And I read:

This is a question for the people with marketing knowledge, and the marketers that lurk inside us all:

Sony gave away a free HD-TV, worth a fair few pennies each, for anyone they found queuing to buy a PS3 at the official launch at midnight last night. Although some had been there for a day and a half, plenty had only been there for a few hours at the most, perhaps hardly any time at all. In any case, the giveaways for these events normally feature a few low unit cost games – this is different league.

The PS3 has been suffering from negative press, and the abundant supply and unusually diffident demand also means that those queuing really had no need to do so: you – yes, you – can walk into your local HMV now with a fair chance of picking one up right now. I suspect that Sony were all too conscious that the reports of the midnight launch might feature puny queues and weary quotes from first purchasers grudgingly aware of the redundancy of their mission. Instead they had a reasonably upbeat story and enthusiastic feedback:

For comparison, this picture gives a taste of the sheer glamour of ordinary purchaser’s at an unofficial launch down the road at HMV:

PS3 Buyer

So my question is this: the free TV stunt cost Sony about £250,000. For this they put a bit of shine on the launch story, which will last for a single news cycle, albeit an important one. Was it worth it?

*Apparently serious PR people hate the phrase PR stunt. Which seems a bit sad as the perpetrators of such events could rightly call themselves PR Stuntmen, rather than dull ole account execs.