Why The World Won’t Be Playing to Sony’s European Vita Ads

What do you do when you want to advertise a device jam-packed with more features than a Transformer crossed with a Swiss army knife? Mention none of the features, of course.

Now don’t get me wrong, the newly revealed Vita ad for Europe titled “PS Vita. The World Is In Play” does look impressive, and is well produced – despite the slight serial-killery vibe of some of the actors – but it does little to show off the handheld. It’s pretty, but mostly useless, like an attractive woman with barbie doll anatomy. Let’s take a look:

Sure, that makes we want to play games, but it doesn’t really make me want to play games on the Vita. I have no idea what games the Vita plays, I don’t know that there’s a touch screen, let alone another touch pad. Hell, even the name “PS Vita” flashes up so quickly that the average consumer is sure to have forgotten it by the time their viewing of The Walking Dead resumes. And let’s not kid ourselves, as gorgeous as the Vita looks in our hands, at a quick glance it looks like a PSP. Even if the consumer takes note of the added analog stick – the only new feature on display – they’d easily be forgiven for thinking this was just another PSP iteration.

If you’ve followed European PSP ads, you’ll remember that they also kept referencing the world to show off the portability of the device, with their main campaign being about “The Whole World in Your Hands”. With both devices having such similar slogans, confusion can only follow. In fact, let’s see what happens if you take the last 5 seconds of the Vita ad and replace it with one of a PSP ad:

That’s an ad that easily could be on TV promoting the PSP. As you can see, the rest of the ad does nothing to focus on what the Vita is capable of. There’s no mention of the myriad of control options, the stellar line-up, that it’s more powerful than an iPhone despite being cheaper – there’s nothing about any of the handheld’s unique selling points. It doesn’t even say when the Vita releases.

Sony’s advertising often seems to be trying to be memorable, but at best they are ensuring that people remember a “cool ad”, not a “cool device” – something that Sony should want to instil in the minds of customers ahead of the rumored March launch of the iPad 3.

The PS3 suffered greatly from terrible launch adverts and, while this ad isn’t as bad (anything beats crying baby dolls), if it is a sign of ads to come, then Sony’s marketing team will have their work cut out for them if they want to prove that there is a space in the industry for a high-end dedicated handheld.

PS Vita. The World Is In Play