TBWA London creates PS2's Christmas spot

TBWA/London has created a television campaign for Sony PlayStation 2's London gangster game The Getaway as the games console market gears up for battle over the key Christmas retail period.

The 30-second TV ad will run from 29 November and be supported by press and poster executions.

The game is based in London's criminal underworld, and uses 28 miles of recreated images of the city's landmarks and streets.

The ad, called "corridor", is based on a scene from the classic gangster film Point Blank featuring Lee Marvin.

The spot features the game's lead character, Mark Hammond, striding down a white corridor with an intense angry stare. The film cuts to different clips from the character's past to give an idea of what revenge will be played out in the game.

Some of the clips are live footage while others use scenes of the game-play to accentuate the photo-realistic quality of the graphics. The climax of the film sees Hammond bursting through a door and unloading both his pistols into a room full of gangsters.

Campaigns based around individual titles are seen as the key marketing strategy to appeal to gamers, and drive console sales in a competitive market expected to be worth some £14.1 billion by 2004.

"It's as close as we've come to capturing the experience of playing the game in the advertising. It is a sit up and take notice film," Trevor Beattie, TBWA/London's chairman and creative director, said.

The spot was art directed and written by Chris Bovill and John Allison.

It was directed by Tom and Charlie Guard and produced by Rogue. Accompanying press work was written and art directed by Andy Booth and Jim Seath. Media planning and buying has been handled by Manning Gottlieb OMD.

PlayStation2 is still the dominant leader in the market with more than 2.7 million consoles, ahead of Nintendo's GameCube with around 260,000 and Microsoft's X-box with around 250,000.

In research by OMD Snapshots conducted in October, 42 per cent of respondents shopping for a games console this Christmas said they planned to buy a PlayStation 2.

However, X-box is closing the gap, with 34 per cent of consumers saying they would fork out for an X-box console. Only 20 per cent intend to buy Nintendo's GameCube.

Earlier this year the Independent Television Commission banned Microsoft from airing X-box's launch ad, "Champagne", by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which featured an airborne boy flying from birth to his death, after upholding 136 complaints that the ad was offensive and shocking.

However, "Champagne" was relaunched as a viral e-mail campaign and achieved instant global success and massive media exposure.

In April, Microsoft redoubled its commitment to take the battle to Sony PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube by committing an extra $2 billion (£1.37 million) to X-box.