In commemoration of recording artist Usher’s partnership with Sony Ericsson, on May 28 he held a press conference at the Sony Club in the Sony Building, NYC. Usher introduced a new phone, the Sony Ericsson W580 Walkman, as seen in his Love in the Club video. The phone brings him closer to his fans, giving them access to exclusive VIP status, competitions, Usher ringtones, wallpaper and photos.
Sitting down with Karen Morris, Sony Ericsson vice president of marketing in North America, the two spoke a bit about the campaign and the importance of modern day communication. “Cell phones are the future,” said Usher. “Without cell phones we are stuck, lost.” Mentioning the above features he summed up the phone’s capabilities, “It’s like a home – in hand.”
In the three years since his album Confessions, Usher Raymond IV has experienced growth as an artist. While Confessions was steeped in overtones of rakishness and self-admitted “tumultuous topics,” his brand new album, Here I Stand, out May 27, is his journey “from a single minded individual to a married man…At 29 you can’t keep acting like you’re 18.”
Also addressed were his plans for the remainder of 2008. An additional signature perfume is scheduled to premiere in September. His June 6 show at the Apollo will debut the material of his fall tour. He is looking forward to performing on the same stage that has seen legends such as Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye. According to Usher, a performer cannot call him a legend until performing at The Apollo.
The Sony Ericsson partnership with Usher is a one year agreement however it could turn into a longer alliance. Karen Morris at Sony Ericsson is anticipating 3G devices to come. They are definitely working in that direction. “This partnership with Usher is the ideal campaign for us to build on the leadership that we’ve established in the mobile music arena,” says Morris. “Consumers will be able to get the ultimate mobile music experience, thanks to Sony Ericsson and Usher.”
The Sony Ericsson W580 Walkman phone has numerous features, including: a 14mm slim slider design, random music playlist, track ID, Memory Stick Micro, caller ID light effect, Bluetooth technology, 2 mega pixel camera with picture blogging, FM radio, pedometer, and an opportunity to sign up for additional exclusive access to Usher.
“New and exclusive content from Usher’s new album and tour on AT&T is the kind of mobile content our customers have come to expect,” says Andy Wilson, vice president of marketing for AT&T’s wireless operations. “This program with Sony Ericsson allows our customers to connect with Usher wherever they have their mobile phone.”
“This is very much a strategic alliance for us rather than ‘synergy lip service,’” says Donna Clower, senior vice president of strategic marketing for the Sony BMG Label Group. “We have successfully worked with Sony Ericsson on many occasions; this is the first time however that we are in synch from the launch of a campaign and across so many countries. As a brand, they understand the creative nature of our business and we look forward to working with Sony Ericsson again throughout our long-term campaign with Usher.
Usher echoed those sentiments saying, “This is a great partnership for me as an artist. The Sony Ericsson brand is young and vibrant and with the new Walkman phones making a lot of noise, it’s perfect timing for us all.”