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Don't Underestimate the Power of PlayStation: 10 best ads

Majed Athab

Perhaps our previous feature on the ten worst PlayStation ads has left you with sleepless nights? We apologize for any bodily harm or psychological damage we may have caused you. You just need to remember that the history of PlayStation ads and campaigns is rich and rife with content. Sometimes these ads can be undeniable hits ... and sometimes they can be wayward misses. You just have to learn to take the good with the bad.

Like we promised, we're now presenting our top ten best PlayStation brand ads to balance out our previous feature. Are these good ones as memorable as the awful ones? Or are they not shocking enough to deserve your attention? You'll find out soon, won't you?

10. PS3 - Universe of Entertainment

November 2, 2007 signaled a whole new direction for our beloved PlayStation 3. We saw hardware revisions for the launching of the 40 GB SKU, the introduction of a new low price point, and the re-imaging of the console. Holiday season 2007 was a huge turn around seeing success in multiple markets. There were a lot of factors in making this positive change happen; however, without a doubt, a big part of this success was attributed to the re-imaging that was achieved with a new ad campaign.

That campaign brought forth the "Universe of Entertainment" and "Play On" television spots by Superfad for agency TBWA \ Chiat \ Day. Senior vice president of marketing & PlayStation Network, Peter Dille, had said about the new campaign: "we wanted to move beyond ... with a more high-energy, entertainment driven focus for the PS3. The games are here ... and we wanted to make the news loud and clear." Indeed, the message was both loud and clear as stylish visuals blended in with the no-frills promotions for Blu-ray, PSN, and, most of all, the games.

However, looking back, perhaps these commercials are not necessarily "top ten" material on their own merit. What boosts these TV spots onto this list is the context in which we first saw them -- as a breath of fresh air after being smothered with flop marketing. It was like a light going off in people's heads, "Oh, so that's what they've been trying to tell me all along."

9. PS2 - Mountain

Trevor Beattie, then with TBWA London, and Frank Budgen of Gorgeous Enterprises created this memorable UK commercial as part of the "Fun, Anyone?" campaign back in 2003. The TV spot begins vaguely with random people rushing towards some sort of happening; meanwhile, a classic song made famous by Shirley Temple plays out subtly narrating the event -- hordes of people form a human mountain and jock for the top position. Now, it isn't entirely clear that this ad is for the PS2, not until the very end and the copy text pops up; however, that's probably where this advertisement draws its strength.

The initial ambiguity of watching people flock towards something unknown taps into instinctual human curiosity. This opens up the ad to everyone as it's not clear what is being advertised here (and therefore not segmenting the audience), yet it's clear that something big is happening. Its powerful and beautiful images have an air of mystery that drove viewers to watch until the very end, and that's when the full idea comes around. PlayStation 2 is that "train," that "mountain" that people flock to; it's a phenomenon that is fun and competitive. All these themes are shown here and are clearly what all 120+ million of us PS2 owners can empathize with.

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