David Lynch Playstation ads

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My favorite is the Wolfman one.

-- Frostbite (krooks@agnesscott.edu), November 28, 2001


(sorry, this has to go on top. My other email address is down.)

My favorites were "the blind leading the blind" and "what dreams may come". Very mysterious.

-- Mat Rebholz (matrebholz@yahoo.com), December 02, 2001.

Yeah, the Wolfman one was great. Liked the Bambi one too. Puts Lynch back in the pink for me. Did you notice that the ad for Game art 2 on this page contains a piece of art that is obviously similiar to Daria's friend, (looks like the same artist drew it) but in Aeonfluxlike clothing?

-- Barbara e. (Suesuesbeo9@cs.com), November 29, 2001.

Ha haa, yes, the wolfman add is definately my no.1 favourite commercial. Easily.

-- Sam (janecherrington@paradise.net.nz), July 02, 2002.

Anyone please feel free to Criticise my school work.

This essay will investigate the processes of engagement of advertising texts. It will look at the specific example of a Sony Playstation campaign. Taking six texts I have chosen to study the campaign promoting their new video game console, the Playstation 2. Directed by David Lynch these texts are a series of television commercials, best identified by their slogans - "the third place". Otherwise the advertisements vary considerably in sight and sound, each one at a different setting with different characters part of a different story; one even animated when all others are not. While the diversity of these commercials' storyboards might be taken as aimlessly erratic and their metaphysical reference (the third place) unimaginatively equivocal, it can be shown that each one has deliberately employed a different perspective to communicate the campaigns same idea. Further more, analysis will show that it is through being imaginatively provocative and through the appropriation of diverse perspectives that the campaign has made itself strategically sound. The titles of the selected texts within the campaign are as follows: "I am the Wolfman", "A resilient Bambi", "Into the Chum", "Blind Leading the Blind", "What Dreams may come" and "Jimmy Dynamite". These titles do not appear in the commercials hence are for no use other than a means of identification.

What is important to consider first is the product itself. To clarify: A video game console is the host through which compatible video games are played. A console translates and transmits a video game's information into discernible images that appear on a screen. The console will provide a means of control through which a user can manipulate a video game's information and subsequently images to their own means - inside pre specified parameters of course. Video games are essentially interactive stories and puzzles designed to challenge and entertain those who play them. Playstation 2 is the latest instalment in Sony's video game console series. It is the first gaming console to utilise dvd technology. Dvd is amongst several other competitive specifications, such as speed, memory, and graphics - the foremost concern being performance. In promoting video game consoles the obvious given is that the core consumers (people entertained by video games) are ultimately interested in the games the console runs and how well. Ideally better gaming console capabilities mean better gaming possibilities. As this campaign is advertising the console itself and no actual games, it is important for it to promote the consoles capabilities therefor simultaneously promote its gaming possibilities. Considering the importance of how the audience regards such 'possibilities', then the more the better.

To promote the product and its performance the campaign has employed its slogan: "Playstation 2 the Third Place". The idiomatic use of language brings desirable connotations to the console by describing it as being another place; the third place no less, e.g. a third world, dimension or universe. To say the playstation 2 is a new world indicates that it should contain a new world of possibility. This puts heavy emphasis on the consoles actual 'possibilities' hence 'capabilities'. Longest of the commercials is the animated short "I am the Wolfman". Visually the ad carries a pre-school style, the characters look like they are cut out of paper, this zany appearance is soon paralleled by the story. The setting is at night in the woods, various animals are moving around. A woman is following a path rhyming something quietly to herself. Soon we are taken to a large house in which a man we see begins to talk via an inner monologue: "I was sitting in my leather arm chair watching telly, thinking how marvellous it would be to be a werewolf. How fantastic and different my life would be". As the dialogue continues the man floats out of his house and transforms into a werewolf. On top of a rocket he flies around his galaxy and its small planets screaming things like: "My rocket is made from pure carbon and smashes through planets" he thus demonstrates, "I hate being bored in my laboratory and I can punch sun!" which he goes on to do, and: "I am the universe! I am the brilliant dog!". The ad ends with a slogan that says "Be what ever you want to be, in the Third Place" then follows the playstation 2 logo; ps2. The slogan addresses the audience on a personal level, saying that, with playstation 2 you can be whatever you want to be, e.g. a werewolf; however you want to be, e.g. a werewolf that flies around on a rocket of "pure carbon", "punches sun" and is "the universe". In addressing the imagination this commercial, for all its unintelligibility, is well thought out particularly humorous and ultimately clear. The imagination is a concern that remains primary throughout the campaign; subsequently each ad is so necessarily of its own style - it is through their uniqueness that they cohere. Clearly the importance of the person being addressed also being imaginative is not overlooked.

A second text, "A resilient Bambi" goes about addressing the central idea through a more simple means of humorous irony: A small deer wanders its way merrily through the forest, accompanying it is a flute symphony that sounds appropriate enough to emphasise cheerful innocence. The deer stops when it comes to the middle of a road. A car speeds down this road towards the deer. The deer doesnít move, instead it watches the car speed towards it, unaffected. The driver finally notices the animal but it is too late. Unusually enough, the car after making contact with the deer accelerates no further, bending and buckling into a complete wreck as though the creature were a solid steel girder. Unharmed and unflinching the deer appears before the mystified driver and continues on its merry way. Cue slogan: "Different Rules Different Place" followed by "Playstaion 2 the Third Place". The commercial toys with emotions and expectations. It makes something like a cute defenceless deer seem vulnerable, when it is actually quite safe. Therefor unlike "I am the Wolfman" which is animated, this ad works to look as believable as possible, the car hitting the deer looks real. Emphasised is the playstation 2's capability to make things seem real, no matter how "different". Along similar lines is "Into the Chum". Here a fisherman out at sea decides to dive overboard into the ocean amongst all the bloody fish guts he had just finished throwing in as bait, but not before he gives his friend a craven grin. Cue slogan "You can tell who's been there" followed by "Playstation 2 the Third Place" It can be discerned that this ad is showing us a person, who having experienced "Playstation 2 The Third Place", no longer distinguishes between fantasy and reality. The campaign continues to speak to the subjective mind. Once again this puts emphasis on the Consoles capability to make things seem real.

Observation and consideration of the final three texts, particularly in relation to all the others, make the campaigns insinuation of the target audience's persona come to its most apparent. They hail the imaginative thinker with a sense of humour: "Blind Leading the Blind" shows a blind old man speaking to the camera in a foreign language, a narrator translates. The old man suggests that all parts of the world have a missing piece, a comparison is made to missing pieces on jigsaw puzzles. He then proposes to imagine a picture that is composed of every one of these missing pieces, and goes on to say, "To see this place you donít need eye sight, you need vision" Cue: "Playstation 2 The Third Place". The commercial is boldly stating that its product provides a means to all the worlds mysteries. Ultimately this is humorous because the connotation is phenomenally extreme. Humour has been intertwined with an interesting perspective on philosophy of the metaphysical. Thus the imagination as well as the intellect are appealed to. Appealing to a sense of humour has been common to all these commercials. "What Dreams may come" Shows a dog asleep on the kitchen floor, its legs are twitching around and it growls a little, it is dreaming. Cue slogan "Visit your Third Place" followed by the playstation 2 logo. Relating to "Blind Leading the Blind" this commercial backs up the idea of not needing eyesight to see the "Third Place" but "Vision", e.g. the visions created by your mind when you dream. A connotation to discern here is that you can realise your dreams via "The Third Place". Thus the campaign continues to involve on a personal level. "Jimmy Dynamite" takes on perhaps, the most unique perspective: The filming quality of this commercial is at a low visual and audio standard, comparable to a portable camera. A man is standing in front of a blue screen holing up a sign that presumably says his name "Jimmy Dynamite". Jimmy is wearing large dark sunglasses. A woman off camera asks if he would mind taking off the sunglasses so people could see what his eyes look like. Jimmy refuses, saying "Uh, no I am authorised". The woman tries a little longer to convince him, but Jimmy is adamant, he explains, "this is part of my face" finally the woman says "okay". Cue slogan "Play to Your own Rules" followed by "Playstation 2 The Third Place" The connotation here is that in "The Third Place" even your idiosyncrasies can run free, e.g. Personality quirks, like the need to wear your sunglasses constantly because you consider them a part of your face. This is engagement on a very down to earth level.

Engaging is the key. This campaign succeeds in creating a world out of its product, a world that would cater to the needs of the most imaginatively demanding individuals, from fantasy to philosophy to idiosyncrasy. Like stories and puzzles, the given is that video games should all be well written and executed. Whether they are or not as such would tend to depend on how well they engage - do they attract and sustain interests? Whether or not each of these advertisements has engaged successfully can be debated. Strategy aside David Lynch is a renowned film director; his calibre as such shows in the execution. In order to attract people into this New World, "The Third Place", strategy and execution say that engagement cannot range from one perspective alone and hope to be successful. The world is created, but naturally it needs populating. Populations are inevitably diverse but something must hold them together. The slogan employed to do this remains common to its idea throughout the campaign; each commercial engaging the same idea through a new perspective, the attempt is to be as open as possible - in my opinion they succeed.

-- Sam (janecherrington@paradise.net.nz), September 15, 2002.

I'm doing a modelmaking course at college and as part of my course i'm doing an advertising prop for the PS2 "third place" slogan so i'm using David Lynch's work as inspiration for a weird and wacky prop, which is a good excuse to reserach all his work :oD

-- Jared 'J@zz' Hutsby (diaketania@hotmail.com), December 10, 2002.

Thats a good idea, its so much easier to learn when you like the subject.

-- Sam (janecherrington@paradise.net.nz), January 07, 2003.

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