TALES OF THE Punderground

Sony PlayStation
PS5 Launch Activation

First impressions count.

Especially when you’re working with one of the most established and recognisable brands on the planet. In a year defined by lockdowns, it was more important than ever that the launch of PlayStation 5 cut through to audiences in a big, impactful way - reaching both an existing fanbase and potential newcomers alike.

The launch of PlayStation 5 was a huge moment

PlayStation UK wanted to acknowledge the brand’s great heritage as storytellers: the home to some of the most popular and beloved characters in gaming. They also understood the importance of creating an activation that would speak to UK audiences in an irreverent way - one that was anchored in British culture, yet unmistakably PlayStation.

PlayStation UK came to us with an opportunity to do something special

They were partnering with Transport for London (TfL) - a great British institution. Pairing the world-renowned London Underground signage with PlayStation’s distinctive brand iconography to promote the biggest gaming launch of the year? What’s not to love.

And showcasing Sony’s memorable characters would also remind the world of their unique storytelling heritage. After all, where would PlayStation be without the likes of Ratchet & Clank?

Time to head underground

Four key PlayStation-exclusive IPs were chosen for their instant brand recognition: Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales, Gran Turismo 7, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Horizon Forbidden West. Cunning punnery produced new names for the Underground stations we would take over. And like them or loathe them, they would definitely get people talking.

We set about developing a visual identity for each takeover. Platforms would be adorned with a mixture of key art, in-game stills, and original creative to deliver a suite of bespoke designs based on these beloved fan favorites.

But with uncertainty looming around the global situation, our out of home campaign looked in jeopardy. How could an activation generate the footfall required of an out of home campaign under such circumstances?

Then lockdown 2.0 was finally confirmed.

An out of home execution effectively became a digital campaign overnight. It would be a huge team effort seeing PlayStation UK partnering with multiple agencies across media, experiential, creative and PR - and we’re still sort of pinching ourselves that the team were able to pull it off.

The result? A cultural moment of epic scale and the most successful launch in PlayStation UK’s history

Even without the benefit of natural footfall, the reaction was overwhelming. There was huge engagement on social and media coverage from all major national titles, broadcast, online, and print from the likes of Shortlist, Metro, UniLad, Mail Online, Evening Standard, ITV News, and Good Morning Britain. There was even a public commendation from the Mayor of London on his Instagram account!