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PlayStation Marketer Explains PS3 TV Ads 94

Posted by Zonk
from the good-because-i-don't-understand dept.
Newsweek's N'Gai Croal writes "In a two-part Q&A, Playstation marketing chief Peter Dille discusses the PS3 ad campaign, Microsoft's blogger superiority, why Ludacris is his kind of celebrity and more." From the article: "Emotion is a big part of the category. You've seen the baby spot, which kicked off the TV effort. The whole thought behind that was, look at the wide variety of emotions the PlayStation 3 can elicit. The other theme we're setting up is that the power of the PlayStation 3 is so awesome that anything placed in close proximity is witness to this awesome power. So this baby doll is whipsawed through a gut-wrenching range of emotions, from laughing and crying to reverse crying. That's going to set up a series of spots where you'll see the power of the PlayStation 3 in this white room environment." N'Gai also has a great piece up looking at why screenshots are no longer effective marketing for next-gen games.
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PlayStation Marketer Explains PS3 TV Ads

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  • Emotions? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lostconfused (1019042) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @02:25PM (#16872646)
    The baby was supposed to elicit emotions? as in more then fear or horror? Actually at first i thought that the commercial was for a new survival horror game.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ShadowsHawk (916454)
      Agreed. My wife saw the commercial and actually asked me to change the channel next time it came on. Somehow, I doubt they are drawing in anyone outside of the hardcore demographic.
      • The point of marketing is to make you remember. If you've had ANY reaction to the commercial that makes you remember it more, then they're doing just what they've paid for.
        • I generally do not revisit a restaurant if the food sucks and the service is terrible. Just remembering is not enough to make me a consumer or patron. I would say you need a positive reaction for the commercials to be a success.
        • by cptgrudge (177113)

          But it makes me not want to buy a PS3! I know that they say that if they've made any impact that makes you remember it, they've succeeded, but at what point does it become negative?

          I mean, decency standards aside, I could put an ad on TV of a donkey getting sodomized by a midget, and then splash a company name up there. My message? "You're an ass, and we're small, but you'll still take it in the butt!"

          It's offensive to our sensibilities in almost every way, but you'll probably remember the company na

        • by Weedlekin (836313)
          "The point of marketing is to make you remember."

          The point of marketing is to sell more products.

          "If you've had ANY reaction to the commercial that makes you remember it more, then they're doing just what they've paid for."

          They're doing what they were paid for if the money made from selling more products exceeds the amount spent on the marketing campaign, and not otherwise. There have been plenty of campaigns that people remembered for all the wrong reasons which failed to do this, or even resulted in nega
      • by Chris Burke (6130)
        Somehow, I doubt they are drawing in anyone outside of the hardcore demographic.

        Um, yeah, because the ads wouldn't make a lick of sense to anyone who wasn't already fully aware of what the PS3 was and what it portended... in which case you are probably a gamer who knows all about the upcoming generation and have already picked what system you're going to buy.

        Hell, the only reason I was able to discern that those weird markings on the black screen at the end of the add were the release date was because I al
        • by c_forq (924234)
          wow, I am a gamer and I thought those lines at the end were HD, and was wondered why they made them so funky. I think they need a new advertising agency.
    • by minus_273 (174041)
      emotions. You do know that the ps3 has the ps2 EMOTION ENGINE. Thats the source of its power.
  • Honestly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ark42 (522144) <slashdot@mo[ ]eu ... t ['rph' in gap]> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @02:26PM (#16872656) Homepage

    These commercials are all pretty creepy. Definitely not something makes me want to buy it.

    On the other hand, I had in the past dismissed several times Red Steel as being probably a dumb game. However, the recent commercials for it with the funny "master" with the white beard making all the wise cracks actually made me reconsider. I'm going to buy that one now, along with Zelda, whenever I get around to picking up a Wii.
    • Actually, all the Wii commercials have left me cringing a bit - nothing in the gameplay their showing looks particularly compelling (basically "hey, what do we do with this new platform for our fighting game...uhhh...just replace the button mashes with weird gestures!") Putting some goofy kid "in the game" (even though its good to show actual game mechanics) makes me giggle and think of late 80s/early 90s ads for the power glove and such. I'd like to see more of the Wii sports games or things like Tiger Wo
    • by ClamIAm (926466)
      These commercials are all pretty creepy. Definitely not something makes me want to buy it.

      You might not be the target market, then. We nerds on the Internet often forget that not everyone thinks like nerds on the Internet. One of the reasons the Playstation was successful (in the US) was that Sony did a good job of capturing the MTV- and pro sports-watching crowds. They did this by making offbeat, weird ads that often had little to do with the game they were advertising. These ads just continue that tra
    • by Ziwcam (766621)
      I was actually thinking the same about the zune ads. I don't know if they're airing, but they're on the website (https://www.zune-arts.net/) (which, for some reason, is secured...)

      Click on the grey guy with tons of eyes. Its mildly disturbing.

      As an aside, if you were going to release a product, wouldn't you check to see if the domain is free before you announce it? (http://www.zune.com)
  • ummmmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @02:26PM (#16872658)
    Chiat Day does the ads for both Apple and PlayStation. Why have the Apple ads been far more memorable?

    Because I wasn't there?


    What a glowing self-endorsement of his skills...
  • It's like a joke (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrismcdirty (677039) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @02:29PM (#16872690) Homepage
    Marketing is like a joke. If you have to explain it to your audience, it's failed.
    • by humina (603463)
      so true... The commercials are creepy, weird, and they don't make me excited about gaming at all.
    • except you're having it.
      • Well, in that case, if your partner asks you to explain what you were trying to do, that's certainly not a good sign.
    • by gfxguy (98788)
      Definately agree!

      Basically, we have a product that needs no marketing at all anyway, and a division or department in the company that was given a budget and had to use it or risk losing it next year because of how stupid corporate policy generally works.

      They also need to do things that will make them visible to the management of the company as much as to perspective buyers, because perception is reality and if management approves cash for ads and then they don't see any, the budget gets cut.

      I work in Coca C
      • It's a well-established, very basic business-school case study. Coke and Pepsi advertise only against each other, and only so that people think that there is really a choice, while the government pretends that there's not an oligopoly in place. It's like Republicans and Democrats. They both know that they have half of the market, they're both very happy with half of a huge market, and they'd both like to keep it that way. Coke and Pepsi don't market to get more customers. They have virtually 100% brand
        • So R.C. is the Ralph Nader of cola?
          • by Yvan256 (722131)
            I know R.C. Cola, but who's this Ralph Nader guy?
          • by NineNine (235196)
            Actually, yes. He's not even acknowledged by the parties, so that they don't give him any credibility as a authentic 3rd party candidate. Same thing. Coke and Pepsi never have and probably never will advertise opposing RC Cola. They just ignore it and pretend it's not there.
    • by Achoi77 (669484)
      Not too sure about that. Marketing should have no real responsibility to try to tell you the 'deep meaning' of the message being conveyed. The core responsibility should be to illicit a response in order to increase retention of recognition of said brand - whether it be positive or negative. The ad's success is from the rather freaky nature of the ad itself - people remember the ad indefinately; the meaning behind the ad is where the marketing dept went to have a little fun.

      This isn't the first time sony

    • by HTH NE1 (675604)
      Marketing is like a joke. If you have to explain it to your audience, it's failed.

      There's having to explain it to your audience and then there's your audience desiring an explanation.

      It's the difference between approaching marketing as presenting a joke and approaching it as presenting a puzzle or unsolved mystery.

      The ad works when it leaves the audience wanting to know more, which leads to them coming to you to find out more. You've drawn them in.
      • by Raenex (947668)

        The ad works when it leaves the audience wanting to know more, which leads to them coming to you to find out more. You've drawn them in.

        Except in this case I don't think it's a matter of the audience wanting to know more. It's more like people found the ad distasteful, and now Sony has to explain/spin the ad into a positive light.

        So, is this a case of any attention is good attention, or is it leaving people with a bad impression of the product? That baby spot is just awful. You've got this alien,

    • Marketing is like a joke. If you have to explain it to your audience, it's failed.

      You sir, are clearly not in marketing, because you're 100% wrong. The goal of marketing is to get people to remember your product. If a marketing campaign is confusing, it may very well be successful, so long as the campaign and the product are memorable. This is Marketing 101.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        Marketing is like a joke. If you have to explain it to your audience, it's failed.

        You sir, are clearly not in marketing, because you're 100% wrong. The goal of marketing is to get people to remember your product. If a marketing campaign is confusing, it may very well be successful, so long as the campaign and the product are memorable. This is Marketing 101.

        You sir, are clearly not an English speaker, because you're 100% wrong. If the marketing campaign was confusing but got people to remember your p

  • I want to see what games are available at launch for a console. I don't want to see what some marketer thinks the effect of a PS3 should be on people. I don't buy a new console for the overwhelming effect it has on me (pffffffft) but for the GAMES. And, strangely enough I am quite impressed with some of the games they have lined up. Why would they think that an ad for say, White Knight wouldn't be more effective than a silly ad cooked up by some markedroid?

    If Sony thinks the console is going to sell i
  • These PS3 commercials are pretty lame but not as bad as those annoying PSP commercials. How hard is it to create a decent commercial for the most powerful game console ever? I'd be most impressed if they took real-time, non FMV, footage actually cranked out from the PS3 so we can really see how good it'll look. They say it's the best so I say for them to prove it in their ads. Make me drool and ache with need.

    Overly stylized commercials are just stupid. At most I'd do something like for the Matrix where you
    • In my opinion these comercials represent the PS3 pretty well ...

      There is a massive focus on becoming cool with little interest in why something is cool in the first place. People loved the Playstation (and PS2) because it was affordable and had the largest line-up of games, there really is no 'magic' about it. What Sony seems focused on is technology (cell), media (Blu-Ray) and cool-ness when they should be producing a low cost system and ensuring they have the most (and the best) games released exclusively
      • Apparently your memory is very selective. The initial marketing effort for every playstation so far has been on the 'cool' factor, sprinkled with a heaping helping of exaggerations regarding the power of the system. Eventually, the largest line-up of games was available. Initially, in both generations, there was almost nothing worth playing.
      • by MikeFM (12491)
        Affordable to me equals crappy. Might as well grab a Flashback Atari and have yourself some affordable fun. Affordable is buying a $15 video card and a $50 CPU and sitting around playing three year old games. Yeah, there were some good games three years ago but do I want to choose to play old favorites or be forced to?

        I think the 'cool' ads are a marketing mistake. They don't catch your attention, they don't come easily to mind later, and they just don't make you lust for the machine. I'd put it on the same
        • by Guppy06 (410832)
          "Affordable to me equals crappy. Might as well grab a Flashback Atari and have yourself some affordable fun."

          When inflation is taken into account, the launch price of the PS3 is about as high as the launch price of the 2600. Remember how that wonderfully expensive 2600 ended up?

          How about, instead of focusing solely on the price tag, you consider the ratio of bang/buck?
          • by MikeFM (12491)
            You're definately right. I remember the Atari 2600 being around $250 (I could be wrong) which is probably not to different from a $600 console today.

            I'm mostly interested in the amount of bang total. If they make it so you can daisy chain units together to increase the output of the system I'd be likely to buy more than one.
            • If they make it so you can daisy chain units together to increase the output of the system I'd be likely to buy more than one.

              The PC fanboys would claim that you can already do this: instead of putting four players in a split screen on one large monitor fed by one system, put four players on four smaller monitors fed by four networked systems. However, this would not help for games like Smash Bros. or Bomberman that show most of the playfield all the time anyway.

    • by Jerf (17166)

      I'd be most impressed if they took real-time, non FMV, footage actually cranked out from the PS3 so we can really see how good it'll look.

      I really wish they'd do this, for all three consoles. I've had a hard time seeing them in action. The XBox360 at my local retailers are all on the verge of death. Who knows when the PS3 will have the spare units to put out on the floor? Online video captures have to use horrible compression.

      The best way to show me your game's graphics is on TV, but instead they squander s

    • by steve_bryan (2671)
      They could even (gasp! horror!) push the envelope and produce a few HD commercials of gameplay. Although almost all new network shows have been produced in HD for the last several years we have the odd spectacle of TV switching back to 4x3 standard definition every time they go to a commercial break (There are a few exceptions like some Apple iPod commercials in HD). Since HD is a feature of the current generation of consoles why not play that up and demonstrate more clearly why it would be worthwhile dropp
  • by Turken (139591) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @02:37PM (#16872840)
    Short answer: Because it's made by advertising people, not gamers.

    Long answer: How many people in the Ad business do you know that are also hardcore gamers? Not many. In general, advertising people are artists - right brained folks, while gamers tend to be more technical and logical left brainers. Especially at places like slashdot. This guy is talking about trying to appeal to emotions in the advertisements, but he's doing it in a way that is fairly abstract. Logical people either don't get it or don't like it. Average Joe Sixpack tends to be neither artistic nor logical. He just wants to laugh, and the ps3 ads are nowhere close to the humor of the average superbowl beer commercial.

    So, unless Sony is trying to reach out to the artistic - creative people and convince them to buy a PS3, the current advertising is not going to be that effective. After all, how many artists are going to be emotionally moved by the crying baby AND have enough spare cash sitting around to afford a PS3?
    • by rilister (316428)
      anybody else remember the uber-creepy, totally abstract PS2 adverts, directed by David Lynch? The third place?

      Duck-headed people. Nothing at all to do with gaming.

      And I still remember them now: I think they pretty strongly sent the message that this was no normal gaming system, and that Sony was at the cutting edge: of games, of art, of movie. And that they had money to burn hiring a top level director for 1min commericials.

      These seem like tamed-down rehashs of those ideas - be arresting, surprising. But no
    • by Ayanami Rei (621112) * <rayanami@gmai l . c om> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:04PM (#16873340) Journal
      It's browbeating you with broad strokes of concepts and emotions.
      * It will make you feel emotions, refresh the genre (baby)
      * It will be very powerful (hovering self-solving rubix cube)
      etc.

      They place the stuff in a stock gray room which forces you to interpret and accept these concepts. Then the use the weird sound effects and music and make the monolith, i mean system hover: THE PS3 IS GOING TO BE VERY GOOD HEY THIS LOOKS KINDA LIKE 2001 SPACE ODYSSEY NO?

      This isn't art. This is hype and hackery. It isn't clever, or introspective. It just makes the same outlandish claims about a product only in a new shell. It's only supposed to make the viewer _feel_ like they are clever and "got it". It's like the Matrix. There isn't anything to get. Philosophy and art 101, with a masturbation option.

      • by Turken (139591)
        "It's only supposed to make the viewer _feel_ like they are clever and "got it". It's like the Matrix. There isn't anything to get. Philosophy and art 101, with a masturbation option"

        heh. I like that description. It's a shame I already posted in this story so I can't use my mod points to bump you up.

        Of course I always though "Art 101 w/ masturbation option" was a person sitting in the back row of the library shelves ogling some ancient stone boobies.
      • by MadMoses (151207)
        It's like the Matrix. There isn't anything to get. Philosophy and art 101, with a masturbation option.

        Good review!
    • Agreed

      If they wanted to convey power they should have 10 of them in a Beowulf cluster cracking a PGP email.

      Then perhaps techs everywhere would go and buy them en mass 2 or 3 at a time.

      • by Darth (29071)
        The problem with that is that then everybody on "TotallyBlog : News for cheerleaders, stuff that's, like, totally Awesome" would be confused. They would be wondering why sony made a stupid commercial showing 10 ps3s sitting on a table displaying a bunch of random letters. Hell, it's not even english.

        Maybe they didnt make the ad to target techs because they expect techs to read the specs and want one for the cool technology in it.

        Note, I'm not saying the original ad campaign is good. I haven't seen it.
    • by biovoid (785377)

      Long answer: How many people in the Ad business do you know that are also hardcore gamers? Not many. In general, advertising people are artists - right brained folks, while gamers tend to be more technical and logical left brainers.

      Sorry, but you're wrong. I've worked several jobs in the advertising industry, and half of the creative people in that industry are gamers to some degree. I've worked at companies that have PS2s & X-Boxes in the boardrooms for Friday night gaming sessions. I'm currently work

  • These ads are all subjective to where they simply evoke emotions that you want to feel. Automakers, and pharmaceuticals create commercials like these and those sell the car. People want to feel good, etc. So, selling the PS3 as something that will make your jaw drop and feel ephereal need not go any further, according to the commercial. Some people will feel this way when they buy it and play the games, and some people won't. Simple as that.
  • This Sony PR flak says:

    All of our research shows that price is a barrier. They might say it's not the ultimate barrier, because they've been charging people, but our research suggests that it is a barrier.

    And they price the device itself into the stratosphere?
    Holy double talk batman!
  • "Emotion is a big part of the category. You've seen the baby spot, which kicked off the TV effort. The whole thought behind that was, look at the wide variety of emotions the PlayStation 3 can elicit. The other theme we're setting up is that the power of the PlayStation 3 is so awesome that anything placed in close proximity is witness to this awesome power....

    So... you wanted to illustrate that 'anything placed in close proximity is witness to this awesome power' by placing a baby who would probably be end

  • by hurfy (735314)
    It's a good thing they explained that baby commercial...I was REALLY begining to wonder about their target demographic :O

    Not that i understand why crying is related to gaming. Exactly what game makes one cry ?!? I was kinda hoping for FUN from a PS3 personally but to each his own. The only thing i can relate to is when EA shutdown the MCO servers... So sony will get me wrapped up in a game and then take it all away? Umm, that isn't gonna get me to pluck down $600 anytime soon.

    WTF is reverse crying? I don'
  • by AnswerIs42 (622520) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:05PM (#16873360) Homepage
    So.. they didn't learn a damn thing from the PSP commercials.. and we saw what a huge hit didn't become.

    Another poster was correct.. if you have to explain the commerical.. it is a falure.
  • is why are there TV ads in the first place? There's obviously going to be a shortage of PS3s, the last thing Sony should be doing it creating more demand until they can catch up in terms of supply.

    Sure, you can argue that in theory PS3 commercials may make people who were going to buy a 360 or Wii this holiday hold off for for a PS3. Is there really any substance to that idea?
    • by NineNine (235196)
      Sure, you can argue that in theory PS3 commercials may make people who were going to buy a 360 or Wii this holiday hold off for for a PS3. Is there really any substance to that idea?

      Absolutely, there is. There's a history of doing that successfully in marketing. I haven't watched TV in many years, but I remember seeing TV ads a long time ago that were for cars, but showed no picture of the car, because it wasn't released yet. It would show a bumper, or a silhouette, or some tiny detail. It's about buil
  • What I want to see is video and of actual gameplay to sell me on a game...

    The reason being is screenshots have been notorious for being touched up.

    Also, theres the deceitful practice of using screenies of pre-rendered cut scenes to make a game look a lot prettier in an advertisment when the actual gameplay graphics aren't nearly as good.

    On top of that, a static shot doesn't show you things like the smoothness (or lack of) of the game's animation, anti-aliasing, and clipping issues.
  • Sony's PS3 billboards aren't any better. The other day, I saw one billboard that looked like it had "///7" written on it. Nothing else. No "Sony", no "Playstation 3", not even their stupid "PLAY B3YOND" tagline. If you didn't already know about the PS3 and know when it was being released, you'd have no idea what the ad was for - and worse still - no way to find out. Sony's TV ads don't even really explain what the ad is for. Is it for the baby doll? (it does get more screentime than that black blocky
    • by xenocide2 (231786)
      You clearly don't remember the "Enos lives" campaign. Apparently Enos meant the Ninth of September. I'd say ///7 is an improvement, comparatively.
  • by stox (131684)
    I guess no one is noticing the obvious tie in to 2001, a space odyssey. Black monolith, star child, sterile white room.
  • Oh, right! The PS2 has an "Emotion Engine" chip! This guy is just recycling the old "Emotion" part for the PS3 via marketing.

    The PS3 is just a console, get over it.
  • I don't understand why Sony would need a marketing campaign at all, other than to just demonstrate it's making some kind of effort.

    The media hype is sufficient to inform people there IS a new PlayStation, and it's coming SOON... what else is needed?

    They can't fill demand for the product as it is, and if the 360 is any indication, stores won't have a problem of units sitting on shelves for more than 24 hours until late Spring, probably later.

    A good marketing campaign for the PS3 would be something that

  • by coaxial (28297)
    That ad campaign is creepy. Creepy like the end of 2001 creepy. I think they're the good kind of creepy, but I of all the people I talked to, no one else thinks that. They think the ads are the bad kind of creepy. The kind of creepy that heralds something demonic.
  • by 7Prime (871679)
    How is "Reverse Crying" an emotional response? Can you remember the last time you bawled backwards? Seriously, emotion was the LAST thing I took away from that spot, more like disturbed fuckedupedness.
    • by erikdotla (609033)
      It's supposed to represent that the PS3 can elicit new emotions you didn't even know you had. It's that powerful.

      Typical marketer thinking.
  • I'm a commercial producer myself, and even though the baby commercial (the only one I've seen aired so far) may be disturbing, it's memerable and sticks with you. Disturbing isn't neccessarilly a bad thing in advertising, because it means the spot is hard to forget. Now, I totally disagree with their reasoning behind the ad... "emotion"? Wow, he really did have to explain that for me to understand it. But for what it is, the fact that we're talking about it here is a pretty good indication of its success.

  • Launch ads for consoles exit just to keep the marketing buzz up. Everybody who is going to get one on the launch day knows about it already and the people who are going to pick one up over the holidays are going to be convinced by Mainstream media news pieces and reviews not adverts. As soon as the launch period finishes advertising budgets shift completely to new games and eventually Greatest Hits re-releases with major pushes happening for the killer-app games. The consoles themselves are no longer front
  • Nintendo fans make better commercials [yourdailymedia.com] than Sony's marketing team.
  • One of the things to have to ask yourself is: What is the ad agency advertising?

    Are they advertising the product? NO! They are advertising themselves as a kickass ad agency! Look at how beautiful our ad was. Look at how many awards it won. Look at how much business it generated. Do you remember who the ad was for?

    Every time I see an ad like this I think of Homer Simpson's high-brow Mr. Plow ad.

    Marge: Was that your ad?

    Homer: I... don't... know.

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