Over the past few years, Sony's controversial attempts at viral marketing for the PlayStation brand were not well-received by the general public. The company had been criticized on numerous occasions for various failed ad campaigns. Campaigns which didn't just fail to hit their target markets, but more importantly had an adverse effect leaving many people angry, rebellious, or just plain dumbfounded. A good example of one of these wrongfully done ads is the recent image of a naked man and his literal eleventh finger promoting the PlayStation 3. Just take a look at the universal heat this drew in.
This recent controversy rekindled the memory of all the horrible ads that have appeared in promotion for both the PS3 and the PlayStation Portable. But, it hasn't always been this bad. The general consensus on PlayStation One and PlayStation 2 ads were favorable; however, as 2006 rolled in with the PSP already under fire and the PS3 on the way, a new direction was emerging for the corporate giant. Was there such a need to be edgy Sony? You were doing so well.
We had thought the era of Sony's marketing fumbles had ended, but apparently it hasn't. So in honor of the embarrassing and often painful ad campaigns over the past few years, we present this look into the top ten worst PlayStation brand ads ever. We're sure Sony won't be too happy about us digging up old skeletons, but this is history and an interesting one at that. It's also one that's hard to forget. And besides, early next month we'll have a top ten best PlayStation ads list just so we're not being lopsided here. So get clicking, and see what NSFW atrocities we've compiled.
10. PS2 - Golfers versus porn stars
The PS2 rarely had any controversial ads when compared to the PS3 and the PSP. That's mostly due to the fact that the PS2, including the PS1 preceding it, incorporated tamed conventions in selling their products. However, the PS2 did show signs of an upstart for more experimental marketing in Sony's games division. Take this questionable ad for example; it's an absurd PlayStation take on Geico-like juxtaposition. This commercial pretends that the PS2 is a wildlife territory where porn stars prey on unsuspecting golfers. Right, and we're the Pope. Scratch that; he won't approve of that comment ... and he especially won't agree with the ad you'll be seeing next.
9. PSP/PS2 - Passion of the PlayStation
Celebrating ten years of PlayStation in 2005, Sony had this religious flame-bait ad made for Italian print publications. The original Italian text "Dieci anni di passione" translates to "Ten years of passion." The image of the man and the short text are seemingly inoffensive at first; however, when paired with the crown of thorns, the meaning changes entirely. Obviously, "the passion" is a reference to the film The Passion of the Christ which came out the year before, and this associated message generated the idea that PlayStation is, to put it bluntly, Jesus.
The ad struck a chord with devout Christians, infuriated religious groups, and even had the Vatican ready to exercise its excommunication powers. Charged with blasphemy, Sony promptly pulled their ads. Fortunate for Sony, the company pulled the ads before they could feel any real backlash from disgruntled Christians. The next marketing campaign, however, wasn't so lucky.