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Sony stages human billboard stunt at Wimbledon to push its 4K HDTVs

Ian Paul | June 26, 2013
Sony's oddball marketing campaign coincides with the UK launch of its 55X9 Bravia and 65X9 Bravia Ultra HD televisions.

Sony is at Wimbledon this year pushing the wonders of 4K resolution to the strawberries-and-cream-eating masses at the famous British tennis tournament this week..

To prove just how amazing all those extra pixels can be, the electronics maker has turned one Wimbledon player into a running, volleying, back-spinning advertisement.

Tennis player Anne Keothavong carries Sony advertising on her fingernails (shown here and above), shoelaces, the hem of her tennis outfit, and other places as she competes at Wimbledon this week.
Tennis player Anne Keothavong carries Sony advertising on her fingernails (shown here and above), shoelaces, the hem of her tennis outfit, and other places as she competes at Wimbledon this week.

During the annual grass court tournament, Anne Keothavong, who is ranked number 5 in Britain and 217 in the world, is wearing ad copy so small Sony says it is only visible on television through the magic of 4K, also known as Ultra HD.

The words "Sony 4K Ultra HD" are plastered in miniature all over Keothavong, including her fingernails, the hem of her skirt, shoelaces, and other locations on her Wimbledon gear. Dubbed 'microtising'—a mash-up of microscopic and advertising—Sony hopes to use the ploy at other sporting events where the magic of 4K will be on display.

U.K. 4K launch
Sony's miniature marketing campaign coincides with the U.K. launch of the 55X9 Bravia and 65X9 Bravia Ultra HD televisions. Sony's 55- and 65-inch Ultra HDTVs—which feature a display resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels—went on sale in the U.S. in April for $5,000 and $7,000, respectively. While the pricing for the 4K Sony TVs are out of reach for most people, these are the first Ultra HDTVs that didn't come with a five-figure price tag attached.

The only problem with 4K right now is that, even if you can afford a television with extra pixels, finding 4K content to take advantage of the resolution is a problem. Broadcasters aren't ready to start pumping ultra high-definition images through their pipes yet, so 4K early adopters must rely on a handful of upscaled movies from Sony to experience 4K at home. The good news for U.K. residents is they can experience Wimbledon in 4K onsite at the tournament or at Sony centers around the country, a Sony spokesperson told TechHive.

Sony says its miniature ad campaign will last as long as Keothavong stays in the tournament. So anyone wanting to see the British tennis star may have to act fast. Keothavong was knocked out of the singles competition during Wimbledon's opening day Monday, losing in straight sets to Garbine Muguruza. Keothavong still has to compete in the doubles tournament with compatriot Johann Konta.

 

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