A Look Back at Sony's Bizarre PS3 Advertising

A Look Back at Sony's Bizarre PS3 Advertising

Sony's recent PS3 commercials are straightforward, clever, and actually sell you the product - but they weren't always this way. Let's take a look back at some of Sony's more, uh, unusual ad campaigns for its PlayStation 3.

Yesterday, we saw the first new commercials in Sony's push to make North American consumers aware of the PS3 Slim, and, we liked them. They were funny, they did a good job at communicating the good points of Sony's black not-quite-such-a-monolith, and they were something that you could show your non-gamer friends and go, "Yeah, see this? You should get one!"

Unfortunately, Sony's brush of straightforward, lucid advertising - see its European commercials - is very much a recent thing. Even if we just concentrate on PS3 advertisements (and ignore the wince-worthy "Squirrel, please!" and "All I Want For Christmas is a PSP" campaigns for the PlayStation Portable), we've seen some fairly odd things from Sony since the PS3's 2006 launch. Frankly, it's no wonder we may have blocked them from our memory.

The early ad campaigns in the States for the PS3 featured Sony's sleek black George Foreman grill in a white, featureless room. To their credit, though, some of the ads in this series did a good job at displaying the visual potential of the PS3 or the capabilities of the Sixaxis controller. Others, though? Not so much.

While the Rubik's Cube commercial, though odd, managed to get the idea across that the PS3's Cell chip was beastly, I can only wonder at some of the others. Can the Sixaxis really make eggs crash into the wall and turn into birds? The creepiest of this early line, though, was undoubtedly the "Baby" commercial. What are we supposed to get out of that, huh? That the PS3 will make creepy baby dolls cry, retract their tears, and confuse it with their mother? That's terrifying.

Yet even the PS3 Baby commercial isn't the most bizarre (and unsettling) advertisement Sony unleashed on the world for the PS3. How about the "This is Living" ads, where a naked Russian man lying in a bathtub in a darkened room challenged viewers to think about their lives before pulling a gun on them and cackling. Oh, sure, it might get the viewer to consider the mediocrity of his or her own life, but will it get them to buy a PlayStation?

Nor was the Creepy-Russian-Man-in-Tub the crowning moment of "What the Jesus?" for Sony's PS3 marketing department. It wasn't even the most disturbing PS3 ad involving a naked man, either. No, that honor actually goes to a print advertisement out of Vienna, where a seated naked man has had his penis replaced by a thumb (NSFW, Disturbing). I don't even know what they were going for here. "Hey, you're a gamer, replace your sex life with games?" "Gamers have small dicks?" What on Earth?

Thankfully, they weren't all thumb-penis Photoshops. Hell, they weren't all clunkers, either - for reference, take a look at the minute-long "Universe of Entertainment" spot. Still stylish (and with a bizarre fondness for morphing the PS3's frame) and still unique, but it displays the PS3's capabilities in a cool-looking way that, more importantly, results in no mental scarring whatsoever.

Of course, on the flip side, it looks like Sony's marketers haven't gotten the bizarre ads out of their system, either. Still, it's hard to argue that they're not on the right track here. You might have a great little system, guys, but it's a good thing that you learned to lay off the avant-garde.

Permalink

that baby commercial haunts my nightmares.

i don't think they have all the craziness out of their system yet, soon they will show make something along a naked farmer running away from screaming Asian baby's "playstation - buy our consoles or we will keep on making these adds"

If you'll allow me to move beyond TV ads, I remember seeing a PS3 ad on Gamespot's front page a few years back. It was done in Flash but simply consisted of the words "Playstation 3" and a picture of a PS3 floating in front of a white background. That had to be about the most exceptionally pointless advertising I've ever seen.

That baby commercial was downright creepy. Does that mean I should keep my PS3 and my sister's babydolls separated? because I dont want a Chucky clone coming after me and my PS3 while I sleep!

Plus, that newspaper add was kinda... well... PS3. I can only say WTFFFFFFFF to that.

That baby commercial are just god-awfully creepy. That one and the Russian one makes me consider sharp objects in my brain and that makes it very hard to buy a PS3.

Way back when I first started working here doing community work, we all got to go to E3. There were these giant billboards up all over, as is typical with E3, but most of them were for the as-yet unreleased PS3.

Their campaign was centered around the slogan "DON'T FEAR CHANG3". Or even better were the signs that just had the word "CHANG3". None of the ones I recall had any content besides that, or even a mention of Sony.

So the next few days/months/years had us cracking "Do you fear Chang?" And "Don't fear Chang". Or "OHGOD CHANG IS COMING TO KILL US ALL" jokes. Mainly when we weren't insulting each other's parentage. Which is rare.

Oh, Sony marketing. :(

Oh Sony... for better or for worse, you'll always evoke emotion out of me... whether it be celebration or disgust, however, remains to be seen.

I have to admit, though, I didn't realise it got as bad as penis-thumbs... people, for your own sanities sake, DON'T CLICK ON THAT LINK. I only survived cause I left my sanity behind long, long ago.

Lord_Panzer:

Ghost8585:

CantFaketheFunk:
A Look Back at a dead horse we like to beat until there are just blood splatters

Fixed.

Point being?

His point being its obviously a slow day for the Escapist news team who are having to scrape the barrel for PS3 bashing.

It's okay if they go for the avant-garde for the Japanese Commercials. The Japanese practically live off of that kind of stuff.

Zac_Dai:

Lord_Panzer:

Ghost8585:

CantFaketheFunk:
A Look Back at a dead horse we like to beat until there are just blood splatters

Fixed.

Point being?

His point being its obviously a slow day for the Escapist news team who are having to scrape the barrel for PS3 bashing.

Oh, chill the hell out. I don't care what product these ads are trying to sell, they're beyond bizarre. Also, the post starts out with John applauding Sony's newest commercials.

Stop seeing things that aren't there.

I do like the new PS3 commercials. They are funny and clever.

I like the new commercials (aside from the unintentional comedy of them coming out a week after the annoucement that there will be no more PS2 Backwards Compatibility for the PS3 ever, and thus the ads saying "it does everything" is a bit funny when viewed that way) but it is a bit odd that it took them 3 years to come up with an ad campaign that was coherent and not psychotically bizarre for the console.

I mean yes, Sony's ad division has always been a bit crazy but the first ads for the PS1 and the PS2 were for the most part sane enough.

they've had some odd advertising but frankly you need some odd advertising to stick out in the minds of the people

for the record video games have always had odd commericals, i mean if you want to see truly odd check out some Nintendo or Sega ads

Wow and I thought the original Xbox had wired ads...

I for one liked their commercials. They kinda hurt my brain at some points, but you know, it goes away.

psp squirrels rules

I like rubix cube,eggs,ooze and morphing ps3 ads

and 2 new ones for psp3 slim were good as well

In most of those commercials; the Ps3 feels a lot like The Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

And that's... A bit disturbing...

The Universe of Entertainment one is actually good! Save for the Tentacled speakers bit.

It says it "does everything"...Yeah I would agree.

Buuuuuut, does it cook me cinnamon Rolls?

No it does not!

Zac_Dai:

Lord_Panzer:

Ghost8585:

CantFaketheFunk:
A Look Back at a dead horse we like to beat until there are just blood splatters

Fixed.

Point being?

His point being its obviously a slow day for the Escapist news team who are having to scrape the barrel for PS3 bashing.

I concur with Susan, chillax dudes, it's all good. I, the #1 Ps3/Sony fanboy of this site, command you to take a chill pill and admit that most of Sony's ads are completely fucked up.

Damnit Marketing department! Why must you give us hellz?!?

"Sony's sleek black George Martin grill"

Somebody is excited for Beatles Rockband! :-D

Susan Arendt:

Zac_Dai:

Lord_Panzer:

Ghost8585:

CantFaketheFunk:
A Look Back at a dead horse we like to beat until there are just blood splatters

Fixed.

Point being?

His point being its obviously a slow day for the Escapist news team who are having to scrape the barrel for PS3 bashing.

Oh, chill the hell out. I don't care what product these ads are trying to sell, they're beyond bizarre. Also, the post starts out with John applauding Sony's newest commercials.

Stop seeing things that aren't there.

It still reeks of make-work, forced trend-spotting, and manufactured "newsiness". Sorry, but it does.

The baby add still scares me...

the more I look at that first "it only does everything" TV ad, the more it reminds me of Sony's situation before they acutally confirmed the price drop :P

SaintWaldo:

Susan Arendt:

Zac_Dai:

Lord_Panzer:

Ghost8585:

CantFaketheFunk:
A Look Back at a dead horse we like to beat until there are just blood splatters

Fixed.

Point being?

His point being its obviously a slow day for the Escapist news team who are having to scrape the barrel for PS3 bashing.

Oh, chill the hell out. I don't care what product these ads are trying to sell, they're beyond bizarre. Also, the post starts out with John applauding Sony's newest commercials.

Stop seeing things that aren't there.

It still reeks of make-work, forced trend-spotting, and manufactured "newsiness". Sorry, but it does.

We were talking about the history of PS3's marketing campaign after the new ones came out, and decided that hey, if we're talking about it, why not extend the conversation? "Forced trend-spotting?" Hardly.

Susan Arendt:

SaintWaldo:

Susan Arendt:

Zac_Dai:

Lord_Panzer:

Ghost8585:

CantFaketheFunk:
A Look Back at a dead horse we like to beat until there are just blood splatters

Fixed.

Point being?

His point being its obviously a slow day for the Escapist news team who are having to scrape the barrel for PS3 bashing.

Oh, chill the hell out. I don't care what product these ads are trying to sell, they're beyond bizarre. Also, the post starts out with John applauding Sony's newest commercials.

Stop seeing things that aren't there.

It still reeks of make-work, forced trend-spotting, and manufactured "newsiness". Sorry, but it does.

We were talking about the history of PS3's marketing campaign after the new ones came out, and decided that hey, if we're talking about it, why not extend the conversation? "Forced trend-spotting?" Hardly.

OMG you just focused on the history of Sony's PS3 marketing on the eve of them relaunching their console in a different form factor and case style and a price meant to be competitive with the other two consoles, using different logos and the Spiderman font and Linux capability removed.

total forced trend-spotting!

As mentioned above, advertisers have to be different to stand out from the crowd. Sometimes that means TOO different, but even if you hate the ads, you are still talking about them. Did you go into work/school the first day the PS3 octopus ad came out and find everyone talking about it? I doubt it, but I'm sure the penis thumb ad was the topic of the week. Try googling "ps3 baby ad" and you'll find 34 million hits. Mission accomplished.

Even though I think the Lair and Eggs ads are effective at selling the sixaxis feature, most of the time people DON'T want to be sold something. Ads with direct sales pitches are usually viewed as old-fashioned or cheesy, like used car dealer ads. Even the first ad in the story makes fun of them in a way. Products are sold by emotion, not by information, because people buy with their emotions.

But I do hate the baby and thumb ads.

Wow..i remember some of these looking back...wtf is with sony lol. Bizzare alien hybrid scottish girl is by far the most uncomfortable for me.

Sony's recent adverts in the UK have been unbearably insipid.

Baby, Man in Bathtub and thumb-guy

very disturbing

Owned.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here