Fever, Manning Gottlieb OMD, Curb Media and PlayStation in-house team, November 2013. Sony faced a gaming console war with Microsoft's Xbox One when it released the PlayStation 4 ahead of the all-important Christmas sales period. Its competitor also had a much larger budget.
The team planned a stunt celebrating the PlayStation heritage and its cultural cache to attract early adopters and tempt back former fans. An exclusive story in Metro hinted that the Oxo Tower in London was about to get a makeover and a tweeted image suggesting the same thing got social media platforms buzzing on the day.
At dusk, illuminated neon versions of the familiar PlayStation console buttons – circle, cross, square and triangle – were revealed on the tower, the first time amendments had been made to the tower’s lettering in its 85-year history.
The stunt provoked more chatter on Twitter than the US launch. It was covered by every national newspaper, and for two weeks the PlayStation tower appeared in the background of the London Tonight TV show every evening.
The Oxo Tower Brasserie restaurant played host to an exclusive preview event with celebrities, influencers and the media. Launch fever ensured that guests engaged in social conversation using the hashtag #4theplayers and the event gained coverage in the national showbiz press.
The activity resulted in 80 per cent of Xbox One coverage referencing the PlayStation 4 launch. Pre-order sales of the PS4 jumped 12 per cent after the stunt, and after its first week of sales the console was outselling Xbox One by almost two to one in the UK.