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Sony PlayStation Bus Heading for Madison Ave

Sony is sending a bus loaded with new PlayStation 4 consoles on a coast-to-coast tour of media agencies to give buyers a close up look at the ad opportunities offered by the new video game device.

Amy Carney, president of sales, strategy and research for Sony Pictures Television, has been selling ads on the PlayStation Network, which has about 60 million registered users worldwide, for about five years, and sales have been growing, up about 40% this year.

(Caption: Dario Raciti, director of Zero Code, OMD's gaming unit, (left) and Chris Kiriakatis, senior VP, Sony Pictures Television, Digital Ad Sales, boarded the “Sony PlayStation Network Coast-to-Coast Experience” as the tour kicked off in L.A.)

The video game network has long been a popular place for game publishers, movie studios and home entertainment marketers to advertisers. In addition to buying ads at the PlayStation Game Store and Video store, those marketers are also e-commerce partners with Sony.

Carney says this year’s growth is attributable partly to a decision to pursue non-endemic advertisers, and partly to the creation of a new ad unit. "We call the Mosaic 0. When you come into the screen the first thing you see is this great big, very impactful ad," she said, adding that because the unit has limited availability, Sony was able to sell it during the upfront.

One very apt non-endemic advertiser was eye drop maker Rohto. Other brands on the PlayStation network included Toyota, Scion and Clearasil.

Sony has sold 2.2 million PS4s already. For advertisers the new machine allows them to develop apps that create more robust user experiences. On the new machine, ads won’t appear on the initial welcome screen, which was a turn-off to gamers, but will appear when users enter the game store or the video store, both popular starting points for registered members of the PlayStation Network.

The PS4 bus made the rounds of media agencies in Los Angeles this week, with stops including OMD, PHD and Carat.

"When you’re on the bus you can actually play with the PS4," says Carney. There are case studies laying out some projects Sony’s done with advertisers and the metrics advertisers use to measure their campaigns. "So there’s a lot of information, but it’s an interactive experience."

At each stop one buyer wins a new PS4.

The bus will be heading cross country and arrive Monday for media buyers in New York.