To read the history of PSOne ads, go here.
Sony’s stance in the gaming market had finally started to reach a position that no other console maker at the time had seen. Sony was in the unique situation of not only becoming the first truly successful company to enter the gaming market late, it became leader of the pack. Having pushed past the boundaries set by cartridge based games, Sony was under pressure to keep breaking ground in one of the fastest growing markets ever.
One of the first commercials that released prior to the PS2 had almost nothing to do with the system, yet it was able to capture the full intention Sony had behind their product. They were able to state in a single video that they had understood that immersion in gaming was the highest priority for gamers, and that the PS2 was “the beginning” of the future we had been dreaming of. These bold moves along with the strength that had been built up, gave the PlayStation 2 the biggest gaming launch day in its history. The PS2 sold over 500,000 consoles on its first day, a number that took the PSOne four months to achieve.
Following the success of the PS2’s release, Sony hired the highly renowned surreal director David Lynch to produce a number of commercials. Unsurprisingly, Lynch created a series of commercials that seemed to leave its audience in complete bewilderment. Given the fact that Sony had chosen to utilize the complex mind of David Lynch, it could mean that Sony’s intention was to create a series of ‘memorable by any means’ commercials. Utilizing their first major ad slogan “The Third Place” they had chosen to show a world that defied all the rules, a place where we could experience things beyond expectations.
Although some of David Lynch’s commercials seemed get lost in their own complexity and put off some of its audience:
Eventually Sony’s ad campaigns were geared for mass consumption as they focused back on gaming franchises. The Ratchet and Clank series had become the Sony replacement for the now multiplatform Crash Bandicoot’s old slogan: “LIVE IN YOUR WORLD, PLAY IN OURS”. Outside of the US, the slogan was changed to “Fun, Anyone?”.
One commercial even had an early appearance of a cast member from the NBC show Heroes.
Wanting to give another film director a shot at creating a commercial that wasn’t as poorly received as the last set were, Sony hired Laurence Dunmore to do a spot for the PS2, using the rarely advertised line, “The only place to play”.
Around the globe, Sony was trying various ways to approach the world market. Sadly, most of their attempts were met with mixed results. Some commercials were even banned for suggestive concepts, while others just seemed odd. Given that not all commercials transition well over different territories it’s hard to determine how effective they could have been. As an example, the slogan “Because your girlfriend bores you shitless” was a tagline that Sony had begun to run in its ads for India.
On the next page, you’ll see a number of commercials and ads from around the globe, some of which are very bizarre and disturbing. Let us know if some of them resonate with you. Also, stay tuned and see how Sony pushed their first entry into the handheld market with the PSP soon.