Don't be scared, Sony make.believe

Sometimes you have moments when you just shake your head and wonder 'what were they thinking?'.

Had one such yesterday afternoon when Sony unveiled its new 'Group-wide brand message' at the IFA show in Germany, and in so doing gifted sub-editors and headline-writers worldwide with everything they could ever want next time something goes awry in the Sony empire.

Yes, replacing '' – pronounced 'like dot no dot other', as Sony helpfully told us at the time – is the new slogan 'make.believe'. And yes, the press release tells us, it's 'make dot believe'.

According to Sony Chairman, CEO and President Sir Howard Stringer, seen left announcing the change in Berlin yesterday:

"In addition to reigniting the innovative spirit of our employees and our products, make.believe will differentiate us from countless competitors and inspire consumers around the world to embrace all that is Sony."

In case all that isn't clear, the corporate PR tells us that "‘Believe’ is the power of inspiration and ‘make’ is about crafting inspiration into products and experiences for our consumers.

"The ‘dot’ is the place where they meet – and where magic happens!"

In other words, just a few weeks after the death of one of its music division's leading artists, some slick brand-engineering team deep at the heart of Sony has succeeded in creating a Disneyfication of the brand of which he would have been proud.

Or as someone in the office said on hearing the news yesterday, "Bucks Fizz must already be looking forward to the royalty cheques."

I guess I shouldn't be too surprised: after all, the company once characterised itself – though fortunately only in Japan – with the slogan 'Digital Dream Kids'.

But I can't help thinking we've come a very long way since one simple, confident statement explained everything to consumers.

Back then, we didn't need to indulge in 'make dot believe'.

Not so long ago, 'It's a Sony' told the whole story.

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.