PlayStation’s new “Playmakers” campaign taps celebrity influencers

The Sony PlayStation marketing team has a long history of creating unique campaigns, including some divisive ad spots. For the PlayStation 5, Sony has keenly looked at the growing presence of celebrity influencers across sports, music, and entertainment and has decided to tap into this trend for its brand-new “Playmakers” campaign, which leverages “a group of passionate PlayStation fans who also happen to be some of the most exciting creators, athletes, actors, artists, gamers and entertainers in pop culture today.”

The goal is to lean into celebrity talent who already regularly play video games and create content like NBA superstar LeBron James, NFL stars Ja’Marr Chase and CeeDee Lamb, country music star Jimmie Allen, and others.

James, in fact, is a key part of the overall Playmakers campaign strategy, as PlayStation also teamed with the NBA All-Star to consult on and promote a limited-edition range of accessories for the PS5. “We’ve got this really unique set of products that he helped design,” Eric Lempel, senior vp and head of worldwide marketing and consumer experience at PlayStation, told Adweek. “It’s something we really haven’t done before, and it’s going to vary by Playmaker.”

James had previously worked with PlayStation on a humorous ad spot featuring Ben Stiller as Kratos to promote God of War: Ragnarök. While that commercial was a PlayStation-led spot, the overall goal of Playmakers is to let celebrity creators do what they do best without a lot of handholding. Lempel noted, “They’re identified because they’re good at what they do, and they’re legitimate fans, in many cases, talking about PlayStation a lot without us talking to them at all. So, we’re kind of OK to let them go.”

Much as we see from creators in the esports domain, the creator-led approach should result in more organic and interesting content to help highlight the PlayStation brand and upcoming PS5 games. And if the content is actually interesting and relevant to gamers, it’s far more likely to resonate and reinforce the PlayStation brand in a more natural way.

Interpret’s New Media Measure® data also shows that gamers in the US are more tolerant of longer ads than the general population so long as they’re relevant and fun to watch, as nearly one-quarter of gamers report being okay with longer ad spots. Additionally, among those who watch esports or game-related videos, 30% state that brand information provided by a well-known influencer would be their top advertisement choice.