Sony PlayStation hires Voce, Access/Ketchum

FOSTER CITY, CA: Sony Computer Entertainment America hired Voce Communications and Access Communications to work on its PlayStation business, following a competitive review.

FOSTER CITY, CA: Sony Computer Entertainment America hired Voce Communications and Access Communications to work on its PlayStation business, following a competitive review.

Patrick Seybold, senior director of corporate communications and social media at PlayStation, told PRWeek Voce will work on the company's corporate and PlayStation Network business, as well as continue its ongoing social media work for the company. Access Communications, in conjunction with its parent agency Ketchum, will work on software and hardware.

The entire business totals seven figures annually, but each agency's contract is six-figures, Seybold noted.

PlayStation's previous AOR, Porter Novelli, opted not to repitch the business. SparkPR previously handled hardware PR responsibilities for PlayStation Portable and did pitch for the account.

“I've married the corporate and PlayStation Network [with one agency] because both are very brand specific,” Seybold said. “They both fall under the realm of momentum and education, especially with the press. We want to make sure the press are aware of all that we offer.”

This year, PlayStation plans to more aggressively expand its brand beyond gaming, in particular emphasizing that PlayStation isn't just a disc-based company and also has downloadable entertainment options. 

“Our most recent ad campaign, ‘It only does everything,' has a clear tagline that Sony PlayStation is for everyone in the family,” Seybold explained. “We want that same mentality to pushed out in the press as well.”

Rich Cline, co-founder and president of Voce, said the agency will build upon its existing work on the PlayStation blog. 

“We get to show how this community site can help with corporate side and the best practices,” Cline said, adding that most of the agency's work will focus on the PlayStation Network, which is considered “the next generation brand” for the company.

Tuesday Uhland, SVP at Access Communications, said Ketchum will focus on the software business, while Access will mostly handle the hardware business.She added that this is the first case in which a collaborative pitch has resulted in entirely collaborative work between the two agencies.

Access has a 17-person gaming practice that handles accounts like Sega, 2K, and Disney Interactive Studios. Ketchum previously worked with gaming clients, like Activision, and will bring its consumer branding expertise to the business, she said.  

“PlayStation is in a really great position in terms of its recent price drop and the new technology it's bringing to the marketplace,” Uhland noted.

She added the company plans to make inroads against its main rivals – Wii and the Xbox. Last holiday season, the Sony console lagged behind the Wii and Xbox in sales, but an August decision to drop its price sent sales surging for a record 2009 holiday.

Catherine Sullivan, director of communications at PN said the agency “is very proud of the work we did together with Sony and wish them continued success.” SparkPR declined comment.

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