ByTim Horton, writer at
Business Development Manager at Universally Speaking. @TimHortonGame | Email: [email protected]
Tim Horton

The video game industry is now worth over $90 Billion and sitting supreme at the top of this industry is Sony. If you don’t own one then one of your friends will – there is no getting around the fact that Sony are king when it comes to consoles.

With big revenues and high volume sales comes bigger and better advertising and Sony are pretty darn awesome at selling their product – well, most of the time. Let’s take a look back over the years at some of Sony PlayStation's best and weirdest advertisements. From the emotional to the twisted – enjoy twenty years of PlayStation advertising. Do not underestimate the power of the PlayStation.

Opting not to save the best til last - Playstation's best

5. Slogans that inspired generations

PlayStation, along with many others, prefer to use video as a medium for advertisement nowadays. Using video allows for the advertiser to appeal to a multitude of senses across a greater number of platforms. But, back when video was not as accessible as it is today, Sony spent a lot of their budget on written advertisement. These powerful ads (below) were inspired and sent out to destinations all over the world.

Using slogans such as ‘Live in your world, play in ours’ and ‘Do not underestimate the power of the playStation’ it evoked a passion within not only the younger audience but the older players too. For the first time Sony was reaching out to older gamers – never have we seen a console widen the demographic of its user as much as the PS2.

PSOne also catered to this initiative in equal measure -both units have sold over 100 Million units each – that’s what brilliant advertising, backed up by a brilliant product can do.

4. Playstation 9

This bold advertisement was one of sheer genius. Although it appears to advertise the PlayStation 9 it is actually advertising the PlayStation 2. The advert coincided with the launch of the new system – but why was it so great?

The ad captured the attention of the audience and was symbolic of the change in gaming generation. It also went to further emphasis the scale of change that was occurring within PlayStation – the look into the distant future was not only emblematic of the massive difference between the PSOne and the PS2 but representative of the company’s overall future. It said that, this was just the beginning – our future will blow you away.

3. Perfect Day

Part of the ‘Greatness awaits’ line of advertising, this, at first bizarre ad takes players through the alternate worlds that PlayStation provides. United in play, divided in battle but loving every minute of the ride.

This really gets across the idea of multiplayer awesomeness – the idea that you can seamlessly play with friends across countless universes. In fact I am just going to let the video do the talking.

2. Long Live Play (Michael)

'Michael' represents us the gamers - I know that many of you reading this will not be called Michael but don’t worry, it is metaphorical. The ad came out as part of Sony's 'Long Live Play' campaign and within days of release was hailed as pundit’s choice for best video game trailer.

This is something PlayStation do very well, inspiring greatness – evoking a passion within the audience. Is it any wonder that PlayStation fans are so passionate? The drive, the belief – the sense of belonging has been drummed into them throughout the past twenty years. They are everything PlayStation has worked towards – the players!

1. Double life

For years I've lived a double life ... Celebrating us, the gamers! Guaranteed to send chills down your spine and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Yes, there are others, like Michael, similar but this for me, was the original player-centric trailer.

And you thought Michael was inspirational. The premise of a double life is an iconic alternate reality fantasy for millions of people. It almost has a superhero feel to it – underestimated and unappreciated by day but at night - that shrouded idolised hero.

The ad works alongside that message of “Live in your world, play in ours” that PlayStation have been drumming into us for years. It gives the non gamer out there a look into the heart, nay, the passion that PlayStation evoke within us.

It truly is an inspirational, all encompassing advertisement. No matter who you are, or what you do - no matter what race, religion or creed – we all stand together as gamers, as PlayStation gamers – we are family.

And to finish of the best of the best it has to be one of the greatest PlayStation ads of all time - afterall, we are PlayStation, since 1995!

Onward we trudge into the somewhat bizarre section,

5. Have you done it today?

It's simple, sex sells! Sony PS4 gets us all a bit hot under the controller with this banned ad! The ad isn’t too difficult to watch; it features a sexy, sultry doctor (um…where’s her practice located?) and leans heavily toward the notion of having one's way with oneself, if you know what I mean... “In your bedroom under the blankets. Or perhaps you prefer the kitchen. Or on the toilet. Or do you like it out in the garden?”

She is of course talking about PlayStation Vita Remote Play feature linked to the PS4. This ad was banned almost instantly as it received record numbers of complaints upon its first airing. Take a look and tell me what do you think?

4. Head - City of Lost

The word ‘lost’ is all you need to know. This ad is so confusing I barely know where to begin – at no point did I think to myself, ‘I wanna play a little PlayStation’.

This ad hails from France and apparently goes to represent the thoughts of the average male PlayStation gamer. Now, I am not one to get easily insulted but, Ouch! Certainly not at all (mostly) what is going on in my head. Somewhat of a disaster if you ask me but what are your thoughts?

3. Thumb penis

Another one in which the title tells you everything you need to know – It’s a man with a thumb for a penis. Why? Because sex sells, are you not listening?

This ad hails from Austria and apparently was made with one idea in mind – to be ”irreverent”. Basically to cause a stir and get people talking – replace mans pride and joy with a thumb – there’s a hidden meaning in there somewhere I am sure.

2. PSP/PS2 - Passion of the PlayStation

It is never a good idea to say that you are bigger than Jesus – history teaches us many things and this is one of the biggys.

This ad came out in 2005 celebrating ten years of what they referred to as passion – the image was cleverly created to symbolise Jesus as it was in the, at the time, popular movie, the Passion of the Christ and of course the Bible. This representation was met with instant and volatile disapproval of the Christian community and even had the Vatican threatening excommunication. Sony swiftly removed the ad from public view but my goodness did this one cause a stir.

1. That racist billboard

If you thought that the last one caused a stir, as you can probably imagine that the reaction from this one was off the chain! I mean, really? Really Sony? You honestly thought that this was ok?

Although I a sure that the creators of the ad were not in any way attempting to be racist the constructs of the image made it hard for people to interpret it any other way. This ad from Holland was intending to represent machines not human beings – however they apparently did not expect people to imply historical sensitivities onto the campaign. Which is strange because I thought that was the general idea behind clever advertising – just me?

Anyway, after fighting the opposition stating that it was clever marketing, Sony pulled the ad after a few months.

And there we have it a compilation of Playstation memorabilia for your enjoyment. It was the console that revolutionized the gaming industry. Everyone who owned one will always remember picking up that iconic controller for the first time. The future is set to be extremely bright for this incredible company – Sony PlayStation on behalf of all gamers everywhere, I salute you!

Lets finish with one of the fast paced, modern PlayStation ads – This is for the Players – Now Loading, this is for you!

Have you got an ad that didn't make it onto the list? Let us know in the comments.


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