What Does Sony Have Against Advertising?

Anyone with common sense would know that marketing a product extensively will, undoubtedly, persuade potential consumers to purchase more of a particular brand of product or service. It’s the reason why it is such a big deal in business. It’s how companies lure customers like us into consuming their creations. And it’s what, eventually, will make them dough, at least if they market their product correctly, that is.

We’ve all experienced advertising from the gaming industry. Whether it’s advertising from EA for the latest Madden game, Nintendo showing the happiest family in the universe enjoying each other’s company whilst playing the Wii, or even from Microsoft shoving their strong exclusive titles on our televisions – we have all experienced it in some form or another. Then there’s Sony’s PlayStation 3; the console with far more features than the rest, sitting idly behind the back seat of marketing, stagnant in limbo shooting out advertisements far less than their competitors. You would think that the console packing the most robust multimedia capabilities and a free unified online gaming service would, in fact, be promoting the shit out of their product, right? Yea, so would I.  However, that’s definitely not the case.

Since its inception back in November 2006, the PlayStation 3 has been raved as the most powerful console in the market. Forget that the thing looks like a sandwich press for just one second and look at the functionalities worth bragging about. Things like user-upgradeable 2.5” SATA hard drives, Bluetooth 2.0 capabilities, Wi-Fi networking out of the box, PSP remote connectivity, flash card reader (in certain SKUs), USB 2.0, and the ability to install the Linux open source operating system. It’s a mean dream media machine, period. So why is Sony abandoning any marketing campaign(s) that can be used to appeal to consumers? That, my friends, is the mystery.

If we sat here and thought about it, some of us could probably count the amount of times we’ve witnessed a PlayStation 3 advertisement. The PlayStation 3 “PLAY B3YOND” commercials were probably one of the greatest commercials I’ve ever seen. It was pure sex for the eyes. Hell, if I wasn’t a PS3 owner and had seen that commercial, I would have ran out and bought one that day. These are the kinds of advertisements that suck people in some trance-like orgy which will convince some into seeing what the PS3 is absolutely about. You would think that Sony – with such a powerful and capable console – would be hyping up their flagship system, and games, to us in a way that would induce some sort of unceasing urge. Games, for example, that should have been marketed beyond belief received little or no attention. Games like Killzone 2 – a game that was surely capable of placing the PS3 in a pedestal of greatness (although, in some ways, it has). I’m not saying that Killzone 2 sold horribly, no. But, let’s face it – had Sony marketed this game the way Microsoft did Halo, you’d be seeing far less PS3’s on store shelves.

The opportunities were given. Sony had Super Bowl Sunday to show it off; they have the opportunity to show recurring TV commercials; they have the ability to place poster ads. But they did not take the responsibility to cater to their marketing campaign. Killzone 2 had a commercial that was shown a handful of times, if even that. It was one of the many games that could have boosted PS3 sales with a healthy marketing campaign. But we all know that the marketing team over at Sony prefers to hold hands and sing Kumbaya over a warm campfire. But, sometimes it isn’t the fault of these marketing gurus. Sometimes it could be people whining about the most unimportant things. Things like how ads affect kids from other countries. You know, countries with the Helghast in them. Like the Killzone 2 ads that were pulled in Canada because of the Helghast face, for example.

It all began when some douchebag teacher emailed Sony Canada to complain about the ads in the bus shelter near his school because there were kids in his class that came from different countries who’ve experienced violence. A Helghast face was the culprit. A face that would bring back the horrific memories of the war in Iraq because Helghast were running rampant over there shooting and stabbing people without any remorse for anyone. Please. What about the Fallout 3 ads? The ads that depicted a blown-off-the-face-of-the-Earth Washington DC. I’m wondering which would affect the child more – the face of a sci-fi figure that’s looking at you, or a post-apocalyptic Washington DC. That’s a toughy. I respect the teacher’s perspective and admire his concern for the children, but we cannot forever shelter anyone from anything. We live in a world where everyone is in constant contact with everyone and everything. Whether they like it or not, people are just going to have to grow thicker skins. There are worse things to worry about exposing our kids to. I don’t think the Helghast is one of them. Let’s not forget that this is the same town that wanted to put atheist ads on their buses. “There’s absolutely positively NO God. The Helghast, however…”

Nonetheless, some people will bitch and moan about how this thing can affect those kids. It still doesn’t justify any reason as to why Sony lacks in the advertising genre. We see Microsoft extensively shooting out commercials for their latest games. Sometimes it’s not a AAA title, but they market them to attract different crowds of gamers. You’ll see them promote the most hardcore game one day and then, something more attentive to the younger gamer – like Viva Pinata – another day. Microsoft does it because they want to show gamers and non-gamers what they have in their box. Whether or not it leads these viewers to go out and purchase an Xbox 360 isn’t always guaranteed, but it sure as hell increases their chances. They’re showing the world that their console can be for any kind of gamer. Then there’s Nintendo promoting the Wii. Any commercial you see Nintendo promoting shows off a group of people high on life. With this joy, you see them frantically entertaining themselves playing the Wii. Although you know that those retards aren’t really playing anything, Nintendo gives the impression to consumers that if you get their system, you’re going to have tons of fun with whomever. Of course, it’s easy to see that the console is aimed at kids, but that doesn’t stop the Wii from being an activity for everyone. And that’s what their advertising shows.

With a barrage of exclusives hitting the PS3 this year, there’s absolutely no reason for Sony not to promote their console religiously. Basic business knowledge, or just logic, will tell anyone that marketing any product sufficiently will in fact increase their overall sales figures. Any advertising done for the PS3 and its games is done by the gamers, realistically. The people who post on N4G, Gamasutra and other sites aimed at bringing news and information, are the ones who expose others to what’s going on. Games like Killzone 2 – hyped radically by gamers everywhere on the internet. That was its advertising. Your average Joe, however, was unaware that it was hitting the shelves or, probably, that it even existed (unless they were one of the few lucky people who caught glimpses of the TV ad when it ran). Point is, Sony, get your shit together and start pumping out more of those “PLAY B3YOND” commercials/ads. If you’re looking to make any profit off your console, it starts there.

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Yaris Gutierrez

Born and raised in New York City, Yaris is one of three co-founders at DualShockers. Gaming since the inception of Nintendo in the 80's, he has grown to avidly appreciate games of every genre, maturing his preference specifically now to third-person action games, first-person shooters and JRPGs. He's a software engineer, father and husband during the day, and mildly attempts to hold onto his "hardcore gamer" title during the evenings. An attempt that he tends to fail miserably at.

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