Sony Takes Page From Guinness Book of World Records for Latest PS4 Push

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Sony is launching soon a gamer-focused Guinness World Records, of sorts, with its Playstation 4 social-media play, "First to Greatness."

It's the latest in a series of launch efforts for the brand out of BBH New York that deliver not just spots, but entire online platforms meant to bring players deeper into the PS4 Universe. Sony has been aggressively targeting a core gamer audience since June -- and it appears to be working: Last Friday it announced it had sold more than 1 million units of the PS4 within 24 hours of its launch.

Sony Playstation: First to Greatness

The "First to Greatness" initiative marks out 64 potential "firsts" that gamers can achieve across more than 10 popular titles, including "Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag," "NBA2K14," "Killzone" and "Shadowfall." The challenges range in level of difficulty, from newbie to highly skilled, giving even the greenest players an opportunity to become part of Playstation "history."

The effort helps to promotes one of the most talked about features of the new system -- the "share" button on the PS4 controller, through which gamers are able to upload their game footage to social media channels or stream it through Twitch or Ustream. Players attempt to win their titles by "sharing" their achievements. Those who hit the firsts will then be memorialized not just on the site, but in a new player-themed version of the previously released "Perfect Day" spot, a poignant, funny showdown that shows two gamer buddies obliterate each other in PS4 title-inspired scenarios.

Sony Playstation: Perfect Day

"Everything we're trying to do with 'Greatness Awaits' is about furthering the gamer's experience," said BBH New York Chief Creative Officer John Patroulis. "The social element has been a huge part of the launch. We're trying to continually find ways to connect people and let them share their greatest moments."

Since they first starting promoting the console in June, Sony and BBH have courted the gamer audience through a variety of channels. Each phase of the "Greatness Awaits" launch has involved a big production broadcast push, followed by digital initiatives that build out the above-the-line message into an online experience. After launching the introductory spot in June, the brand released "Bid for Greatness," an online effort that allowed players to claim gear featured in the spot in exchange for their game achievement trophies, and "Greatness Exchange," an auction site where players could get their hands on game memorabilia and excursions such as four days in Amsterdam for a "Killzone Induction Experience."

Along the way, the campaign has evolved to address the various demos within the gamer audience. "Bid for Greatness," for example, targeted the die-hards with achievements to share. "The gaming community seemed excited, but it was definitely rewarding the greatest gamers out there, people with ungodly trophy counts," said BBH Exec Creative Director Ari Weiss.

Sony Playstation: Bid for Greatness

Not so with "First to Greatness," which Mr. Weiss described as a "land grab experience," that invites any and all users to "run out and stake their claim. Some are easier, some are harder, but it's not just about the super core." With the share button integration, the effort also weaves the Playstation network more deeply into traditional social media channels.

It will be interesting to see if Sony's gamer-targeted approach pays off, given the focus of the gaming industry's other most talked about release, Microsoft's Xbox One, which hits shelves and mailboxes this coming Friday. The latter has taken a different tack with its marketing, positioning the device to a broader audience as a hub for home entertainment.

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