New Sony Walkman Ad Campaign: Is the Medium really the Message?

Chip Heath, professor of organizational behavior in Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and author of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, took issue with Marshall McLuhan in a recent interview with McQ:

In truth, the message is the message. People who think too much about the medium—opt-in newsletters, the Internet, Web 2.0—are making the same mistake that people have made for years in education. Remember how the 8-millimeter film was going to revolutionize education? Then the VCR? Then the personal computer? The medium can certainly help, but an 8-millimeter film didn’t salvage a bad math lesson.

Case in point, the new advertising campaign for the Sony Walkman is claimed to be the first ‘monophonic ad’, created by deconstructing an original musical work into individual notes, then recruiting 128 musicians and giving them each just one note to play, thereby re-constructing the original melody, in spectacular waves of sound and movement.


Advertising that entertains, delivers the message and gets talked about – it can’t get any better than this.

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