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A few weeks ago, I started reading about some new ad campaign that Sony was planning called "Long Live Play". I was kind of disappointed to hear that Sony would be taking a new approach to its advertising, as I actually really enjoyed some of the early Kevin Butler ads. Today, I saw the first advertisement in this new campaign, and it blew me away in terms of creativity and execution!

The full ad is shown below:

While a "love letter" to the gamer in the form of a TV commercial doesn't make up for losing tens of millions of people's Credit Card information, reminding people of why they love to game is a great first step towards bringing back our business. The advertisement above features many of the most beloved characters in the PlayStation 3 library giving heartfelt thanks to the efforts of one valiant gamer for bringing their stories to life and helping them through their greatest perils.

Kevin Butler

The company responsible for the ad is Deutsch Inc.'s Los Angeles studio. The studio has already produced some memorable and award-winning advertisements, including Sony's own Kevin Butler advertisements, the adorable "Mini Vader" Volkswagon commercial (see below), and some DirectTV ads that reenacted scenes from beloved movies (see below for an example of a Star Trek-themed ad).

You'd expect to see many of the first-party Sony characters to be represented. People like Nathan Drake from Uncharted, Sackboy from LittleBigPlanet, Cole MacGrath from Infamous, and Kratos from God of War would be no-brainers for such ad ad. And the advertisement could have gotten away with just that. But that wasn't enough. Deutsch went all-out for this ad, approaching 15 different third-party developers and publishers for the rights to use characters from their games!

But the ad doesn't just excel at creativity. It's also superbly executed! Deutsch used the actual voice-actors from the game do dub the dialogue for the ad, and hired Hollywood costume and prop designers and make-up artists to make sure the real-life characters look exactly like the 3-D models that were given to Deutsch as reference material.

Characters like Old Snake from Konami's Metal Gear Solid 4 and Ezio from Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed have speaking roles, and numerous other character's from other third-party games are featured as well. Lightning from Square-Enix's Final Fantasy XIII, Isaac Clarke from EA's Dead Space, Little Sister from 2K's Bioshock, Chell from Valve's Portal, and even athletes from football and baseball are all represented.

The advertisement reminds us of why we love to game: the memorable characters, loveable mascots, heart-wrenching drama, over-the-top adventure, and humor.

I only have two minor complaints with this advertisement:

  1. Costumes, make-up, props, and voices are all spot-on perfect, but the actors could have been better. Particualry Solid Snake just didn't look right - although the camouflage thing when he leans against the wall was funny. Also, it really would have tickled us nerdier gamers if Deutsch had found a way to cast Nathan Fillion in the role as Nathan Drake, especially since he's apparently not getting that role in the rumored movie-adaptation of the game.
  2. All the characters featured are from very recent games. It would have been neat for the ad to really appeal to the nostalgia of long-time gamers - especially the ones that are closely-tied to the PlayStation brand. Where's Cloud or Squall from Final Fantasy VII or VIII (respectively)? Where's Jill Valentine from Resident Evil? Or James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2? Or characters from niche and cult games like Ico, Wander from Shadow of the Colossus, or Jade from Beyond Good and Evil? Where's the old brand mascots like Crash Bandicoot and Lara Croft? Can us old-school PlayStation gamers get some love too?

    I guess that since the ad is primarily designed to bring in younger or casual gamers who may have recently been disenfranchised by Sony's security breach, Sony and Deutsch didn't think they'd need to appeal to us first-generation PlayStation gamers. It makes sense. But there was plenty of room in that ad to fill up space with a few simple background characters.

All-in-all, this is a remarkable little advertisement that I thoroughly enjoyed watching. I look forward to seeing future advertisements from this company. Oh, and hopefully this new ad campaign doesn't mean Sony is ditching Kevin Butler. I love that guy!

The adorable "Little Vader" Volkswagon ad:

DirectTV ad featuring Captain Kirk:

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