From March 14 to April 22, the Sony Square NYC location will host an interactive exhibit called The Sony Music Experience. The experiential campaign invites guests to step into the shoes of a rock star by posing for album covers, dancing in a music video or recording a vocal track.
While the installation is designed to promote Sony’s musical artists, the company says it’s not concerned about resulting purchases.
“The purpose of SSNYC is absolutely not to direct sales—it’s about the larger picture,” Steven Fuld, SVP of corporate marketing for Sony Corporation of America told AListDaily.
Fuld likened Sony’s marketing strategy to kando—a Japanese term that refers to emotional involvement. For that reason, The Sony Music Experience, as with all the company’s revolving installations, was designed to elicit an emotional response rather than a financial one.
Launched in 2016, SSNYC is a gallery and event center as opposed to an outlet store. Every six-to-eight weeks, Sony redesigns the space to highlight activities, products or launches. The continuously shifting space ensures that Sony is “always on,” as Fuld explained.
“Historically, I think we’ve focused a little too much on large tentpole events and did some really great things, but we were kind of too quiet during those in between periods,” said Fuld. “Consumers never turn off. We want to have awareness in the consumers’ mind of Sony—who we are and what we stand for. We want to share a bigger story than just electronics or the next piece of content coming out.”
Each interactive option at The Sony Music Experience is designed to create souvenirs and fond memories associated with the Sony brand. Participants walk away with audio recordings, videos and photos to share across social channels with the hashtag #SonySquareNYC.
“It’s important that we create opportunities [for consumers] to get that emotional connection, and, if that’s the case, they’ll choose their own social channels and post. We don’t intentionally create selfie moments when designing the space,” said Fuld.
At the Sony Music Experience, visitors can have their pictures taken on a set that recreates the cover art for DJ Khaled‘s album Major Key. The set has been a big hit, Fuld said.
Nearby, a green screen setup allows guests to dance and be inserted into the music video for Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.”
A custom recording booth offers recorded karaoke sessions to simulate a rock star on the job. Visitors can choose from one of 10 karaoke tracks to record and will be gifted with an audio and video recording of the session.
“We’ve found that installations associated with getting the consumer involved have been far more effective [than gallery showings],” Fuld explained.
The Sony Music Experience features a pop-up store and listening area featuring over 20 Sony Music recordings on vinyl. Music memorabilia is also on display ranging from autographed instruments to hand-written song lyrics. Limited edition merchandise will be available for sale as additional souvenirs.
Sony measures the success of each installation by foot traffic and online surveys, Fuld explained. Of course, some positive reactions are obvious, such as the 600-odd fans that showed up to meet Judas Priest on Monday. The metal band arrived on a fire truck, sirens blaring.
Previous events included props from the movie Passengers, escape rooms and a gaming night with graffiti artist ELLE who personalized PS4 controllers.