Sony’s W Series Walkman is a barebones MP3 player with one key selling point: it’s waterproof. But that can be a difficult thing to highlight on store shelves — at least when you’re limited to traditional retail packaging. For its customers in New Zealand, Sony decided to try something different. With the help of ad firm DraftFCB, the company came up with a brilliant plan to help set its product apart from alternatives like Apple’s iPod shuffle. The earbud / MP3 player combo comes packaged inside a full bottle of water, a clever marketing tactic that immediately highlights its waterproof construction.
From there, Sony concentrated on product placement for this “bottled Walkman,” selling it in vending machines at gyms and indoor pool facilities. This made it possible for consumers to buy an MP3 player alongside their normal workout refreshments — but at a cost much higher than your average bottle of Gatorade.