PlayStation turns game of chess into citywide battle for dominance in epic spot

PlayStation: surely this is the end for the white team?
PlayStation: surely this is the end for the white team?

Global campaign, created by Adam & Eve/DDB, was launched at PlayStation showcase event yesterday.

A game of chess plays out in an epic scramble across a city between two teams of characters on various increasingly elaborate vehicles, in the new global ad for Sony PlayStation.

Created by Adam & Eve/DDB and launched at yesterday’s online PlayStation Showcase event, “PlayStation – Play has no limits” is a two-and-a-half-minute film that justifies its length with a narrative that celebrates the sometimes vital contribution of the least powerful piece in chess: the pawn.

Opening with aerial shots of an American-style cityscape – complete with a row of skyscrapers shaped like the pieces of chess – it moves to two “kings”, atop their tower, who kick off a game of chess by each moving forward a pawn on the board two squares, with the two pieces directly facing each other.

As this happens, two human “pawns” jump into action and meet on the street below, where they engage in a face-off, followed by a futile chase. As the kings make further moves on the board, other characters appear: a group of four joyriding a sports car (bishop), a pair of leather clad bikers (knight), a convoy of armoured trucks (rook) and finally, the two queens, who arrive in a helicopter and a Mercedes-Benz respectively.

But while all the attention is naturally on the queens – the most nominally powerful figures in the game – it is the white king’s pawn, forgotten since the opening, who ultimately makes it to the top of the tower and checkmates the opponent.

The ad was created by art director Xander Hart and copywriter Edward Usher, and directed by Francois Rousselet through Riff Raff.

Eric Lempel, senior vice-president and head of global marketing at PlayStation, said: “Pushing against limits and resetting our ideas of what is possible is in PlayStation’s DNA. And today, we are bringing this vision to life through a new global brand spot.

“We believe it’s powerful to challenge expectations and present bold new possibilities. This new spot takes the viewer on a reimagined journey through one of history’s oldest and most revered games. In a fantastical city as the backdrop, play is governed by rules and limitations – and we see what happens when one player defies conventions and stands triumphant, proving that play has no limits.”

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