PlayStation has employed some bizarre marketing in the past, but Sony’s outdoor campaign for the launch of the PS5 in the UK was, as they say, “Brilliant!” With the help of British PR agency Red and media agency MediaCom, the PlayStation brand staged a 48-hour takeover of the London Underground.
Recognizing that the traditional Underground symbol already resembles a circle from a PlayStation controller, the team decided to replace some of these signs with the complementary triangle, square, and X at various stops. Underground platforms also saw station names replaced with labels such as “Ratchet and Clankaster Gate” instead of Lancaster Gate and “Gran Turismo 7 Sisters” instead of Seven Sisters, alongside artwork from the respective PlayStation franchises.
As The Drum points out, London’s transportation system has a reputation for accommodating advertisers. The Tube, for example, recently renamed Piccadilly Station as Picardilly to coincide with the release of Star Trek: Picard on Amazon Prime. The decision to effectively “reskin” the Underground signs and platform surroundings with PlayStation branding on time for the PS5’s launch was a clever way to remind people about the arrival of the next-gen console in a market where PlayStation has been a part of mainstream culture for 25 years. The UK has long had a strong affinity for the PlayStation brand, with some brand relevance indexes placing it just behind Apple and Lego. Interpret’s NMM: Global Profiles® shows that interest in PlayStation consoles among UK consumers rose considerably from the PS3 to PS4 generation, and the country currently ranks among the top nations for PlayStation ownership.
“The London Underground sees around 2 million commuters each day, pandemic notwithstanding. That’s a pretty good audience for an outdoor campaign, and it’s very likely to resonate,” said Janine Cannella, VP of Marketing at Interpret. “Part of smart advertising is to elicit strong emotions, and given how popular PlayStation has been for so long, this is the kind of campaign that could bring a smile to people during an otherwise mundane trip to or from work.”