When video games and the people who play them come in so many genres and play styles, how do you speak to them all in one campaign? Seven years after its rocky launch of the PlayStation 3, Sony needed to promote the PlayStation 4 while reaching as many consumers as possible in an emotional way. The answer came in one phrase: “Greatness Awaits”—a concept that video games, regardless of genre, make gamers feel good when they play. After four years, the campaign is still going strong by conveying a feel-good message of accomplishment and adventure through the world of video games with PlayStation.
2013: The Beginning Of Greatness
The first commercial aired during Game Three of the NBA Finals in June 2013—wowing viewers with its live-action elements and containing 35 “secrets” that fans and news outlets immediately went to work dissecting. An interactive version allowed viewers to unlock exclusive content by clicking on hot spots throughout the video, adding an immersive element to garner excitement for upcoming games.
“We think it beautifully articulates what awaits you if you come to the PlayStation platform,” Sony Computer Entertainment of America’s former brand marketing head, senior vice president Guy Longworth told [a]listdaily when the spot was first unveiled. “You can achieve your greatness, you can be an NBA star, you can be a football star, you can kill dragons, you can go on adventures—you can be a hero. You can live your dreams when you’re playing games. Gamers are so passionate, they love this stuff so much, we really wanted to make an emotional connection and help them understand that we really care about them and everything we do is laser-focused on meeting their needs.”
The campaign left a lasting impression, as the PlayStation 4 went on to sell over seven million units in just five months—the largest video game console launch in history.
2014: A Perfect Day
Sony continued its “Greatness Awaits” campaign into the coming year, this time focusing on the joy of playing online with friends. The live-action commercial and subsequent campaign went on to win Cyber Gold at Cannes Lions 2014. Variations of “Greatness” were utilized throughout Sony’s campaigns from the slogan, “Where The Greatest Play” to “First To Greatness”—challenging players to achieve in-game goals before anyone else and “Bid For Greatness,” an online auction in which players could trade trophies earned in-game for real-life collectibles.
The key to this campaign’s success was not only living your dreams through video games, but embracing a community of other gamers online. This message was hit home in another live-action commercial about the time-honored tradition of challenging friends to play.
2015: Star Wars May Be The Ultimate Nostalgia
Sony’s “Greatness Awaits” was the perfect vehicle to fuel hype for Star Wars: Battlefront, especially since The Force Awakens was about to hit theaters over that holiday season. The live-action spot reminds gamers that if they’ve ever played Star Wars as a child, Battlefront was the next best thing to jumping out the window and into an X-wing.
2016: More Adventures To Be Had
“Greatness never settles,” PlayStation said on Twitter before revealing its latest live-action commercial. “The King” tells the tale of a bored royal who has accomplished many things, but wants more. Accompanied by Scala & Kolacny Brothers’ cover of Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams, the young King sets off an adventure through the worlds of PlayStation-exclusive titles like Horizon: Zero Dawn and God of War.
It’s not often that a brand uses the same mantra for so long, but “Greatness Awaits” continues to wow and inspire gamers by acknowledging and celebrating the adventures that only video games can provide. Fans aren’t tired of the slogan either, as “The King” has garnered over 11 million views across YouTube and Facebook to date.
Analytics firm Gallup recently reported that economic decision making is 70 percent emotional and 30 percent rational. Through interactive storytelling, players create emotional bonds with fictional characters, situations and by playing with their friends. Focusing on the feeling of playing a video game reaches audiences on a strong, emotional level—no doubt attributing to the long-term success of “Greatness Awaits.”