Sony Introduces Slingbox Competitor. Does Poor Job
Slingbox, a device that allows you to watch anything from your home-based cable box or DVR while anywhere in the world through an Internet connection, has a new competitor. Sony is launching Location Free which pretty much does exactly what Slingbox does. Unfortunately, Sony's website for this product doesn't do a very good job explaining the product whereas Slingbox does. Sony's site is heavy on Flash and light on clear product description. Slingbox provides a simple site with a simple to understand (albeit a bit informercial-ish) product tour video that clearly explains exactly what the product does.
Sony's difficulty in clearly explaining the product is apparent in its commercials as well (you can view them on the Location Free site). Both commercials show entertainment center products like a TV, a cable box and a camcorder following a person around and are tagged with "Where ever you go, your entertainment will follow." It's a good concept and probably sounded really great when it was being presented to the client but it leaves one with a big question after viewing: exactly how does my entertainment follow me around and why would I want my home theater devices following me around? Oh sure, you're supposed to go to the website to find out what it's all about (not an easy task given the site's lack of clear explanation) but why make people work that hard? Rather than go with some fluffy, high concept approach, why not simply say, "Location Free lets you watch anything from your home entertainment system on any Internet connected device anywhere in the world."? Oh wait, that's not very creative and that would make a really boring shoot.
In a lot of advertising it seems there's always an aversion to straightforward language and an explanation of what exactly a product or service does because sometimes the need to entertain overtakes the responsibility to explain. Slinbox pictures its device atop a cable box and a TV clearly indicating it has something to do with viewing TV/cable/DVR. Sony shows an image of what appears to be a computer tower and no clear visual illustration of its relationship with a TV/cable/DVR. The two ads were created by Bagby + Company and Boxer Films.
And what is with that dude's hair in the airport spot?