With the Playstation 5 on the horizon we can no doubt expect some interesting advertising to lure us into a purchase and that got us reminiscing about some of the past commercials that have been used to sell previous generations of Sony’s hardware. Here are our top 5 playstation commercials.
"Mental Wealth" (1999, PlayStation 1)
Playstation have always opted for the strange and bizarre when it comes to advertising. In some instances you haven’t a clue the commercial is even for Playstation until the very end. This is a case in point. Aired in the UK for the PS1 in 1999 it was directed by Chris Cunningham, renowned for his music videos.
The set up is simple, a young woman sits in front of a camera telling us we no longer need to live vicariously through other people’s achievements, but can experience them ourselves. What attracted people’s attention however and got them talking were the subtle visual effects used to distort the woman’s face leading many to believe that’s how she appeared in real life.
"Mountain" (2003, PlayStation 2)
Not long after the Playstation 2 launched, Sony released network adapters to allow gamers to connect their console to the internet and play games online under their Net Play banner. Of course this idea wasn’t new to gaming, but it was new to Playstation, but how to promote such an idea to its audience?
With its ingenious choice of music, Get on Board by child movie star Shirley Temple it invokes thoughts of World War Z with its clambering swarm of people battling it out to be at the peak of the mountain and claim victory. Nothing describes playing online better than this commercial.
"Long Live Play" (2011, PlayStation 3)
By 2011, Playstation had over 15 years of console gaming under their belt and had built up a healthy roster of recognisable characters. So, what better time to have them all under one roof in this inspiring commercial. What starts as a seemingly normal World War 2 vignette of a US soldier parachuting into a wood at night, soon becomes odd when he casually enters a German castle, pays an entry fee and leaves his rifle with some advanced weaponry.
As he enters a bar we then see the congregation of well-loved characters, such as Nathan Drake, Kratos and Sackboy conversing with each other about a mysterious person who has saved all them in some way. That person is Michael, or in other words you, the gamer. However, it must feel pretty good if your name actually is Michael.
"The Third Place" (2000, PlayStation 2)
As previously stated Playstation like it surreal when it comes to commercials and you don’t get much more surreal than legendary director David Lynch. They hired him early on in the Playstation 2’s launch to make this bizarre entry and it’s one that has stuck with me ever since I first saw it.
In his often used black and white style a man walks cautiously down a corridor observing strange sights along the way including himself (cue Agent Cooper thumbs up) as well as finding his body affected in numerous ways. All this culminates in a strange waiting room where a man with a duck’s head welcomes him to the third place. I don’t know about you, but I’m sold.
"Double Life" (1999, PlayStation 1)
When Sony released their first console in 1995, Nintendo and Sega already dominated most of the market and so they had a tough job ahead cutting a piece of the pie for themselves. They had to persuade people to buy into their new vision for console gaming and this is how they did it.
Much like Mental Wealth it had a simple set up, a series of diverse people who at first appear as though they are describing their own lives, but are in fact describing their experiences with the console and the many lives they have led through it. Beautifully written and directed, the child’s intense stare as he says “and conquered worlds” sticks with you. Winning several awards at the time this commercial has gone on to become a favourite among fans.
So there we have it, our top 5 playstation commercials. Do you agree with our list or are there any commercials you think we missed. Let us know in the comments below. Stay tuned for our Top 5 Xbox commercials.