Sony PlayStation2 is extending the otherworldly 'third place' theme of its brand advertising to its continuing sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League.
In eight new ten-second break bumpers from TBWA/ London, last season's giant rolling football is replaced by a futuristic blue football pitch in the middle of an arid desert - the soccer equivalent of the scary corridor in David Lynch's brand ad.
The different spots follow the pilgrimage of various unlikely figures to the blue pitch, as the camera cuts to startling images of Subbuteo players and team formation diagrams hanging from the steel fences surrounding the pitch.
The 'visitors' to football's third place include a small dog carrying a punctured ball, which it lays ceremoniously outside the fence, a small boy kicking a football through the dusty countryside and a 'programme seller', who deposits a suitcase next to the pitch and watches his papers blow into the fence.
David Patton, the European marketing director for PlayStation, said: 'The sponsorship idents are born out of the same idea as the brand ad. It's the idea of a unique spiritual place that people get to through PlayStation. The third place can't be defined or described, it's a unique experience for everyone.'
PlayStation's sponsorship of the Champions League is in its fourth season and will extend until 2004. 'The league is broadcast live in more than 110 countries and gives us exposure to a massive European audience,' Patton said. 'Our sponsorship is a massive brand-building and awareness initiative.'
The idents were written by Pat Burns, art directed by Gavin McGrath and directed by Stuart Douglas through 400 Films.