Sony refutes suggestion that Cierge is a means for mega-hype

PARK RIDGE, NJ: Sony has insisted that its new Cierge service was

not established with the intent to hype its high-end consumer

electronics.



Nevertheless, the company wasn't complaining after the New York Post's

Page Six ran a gushing item about the super-exclusive purchasing program

last week.



Established last October by Sony's corporate marketing team, Cierge

provides VIPs with the chance to buy Sony's latest cutting-edge

offerings before they are available to the average consumer. The club is

open to invitation only, and its rolls will be capped at 10,000; the

Post story mentioned Sony music stars Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand,

and Destiny's Child as early members. However, the company would not

confirm any other names of celebrities or power brokers it plans to add

to the prestigious list.



Rick Clancy, SVP of corporate communications for Sony Electronics, said

the purpose of Cierge is to "reach out directly to enthusiastic Sony

fans who have the means and interest to learn about products at a very

early stage." However, he added, "To the extent that they recommend our

products and services, that is of course greatly appreciated."



Indeed, with the cost of an official celebrity spokesperson often

running into the millions, the consumer electronics giant could score a

PR coup if any Cierge members happen to plug Sony products on their own

accord.



"If you can have a celebrity act as your mouthpiece, that can be great

exposure," said Rogers & Cowan's Jonah Borris, who nonetheless expressed

skepticism about Cierge's approach. "Half the time," he said, "the stars

that can afford these products want them for free."



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