SONY Walkman 30th Birthday. Choromatsu Monkey Magic!

SONY’s Walkman turned 30 years old in July.

Most people are familiar with the story. In February 1979, Morita (then co-Chairman for Sony) called a meeting at Sony Headquarters to get the team behind the project. The research suggested a failure, but the team went ahead.

Morita ordered an initial production run of 30,000 Walkman units. A bold move considering that monthly sales of the best-selling tape recorder averaged 15,000 units.

The project went from development through production to preparation for launch. On June 22, 1979, it was announced that the Walkman would go on sale on July 1. The first publicity campaign featured skateboarders as proof of portability.

Much of the advertising post that (and pre-iPod) is well known

But in celebration of the Birthday, it is worth looking at one of the most memorable ads. The lead monkey is Choromatsu who died at the extremely ripe age of 29 back in 2007. He was famous for his various performances around Japan, and happily retired in 1990 to live out the latter half of his life with his 41 year old “human partner in performances,” Goro Murasaki. Enough said!

Here is his classic 1987 spot….nothing to do with portability and all to do with emotion. Monkey Magic!