“…missed heartbeats and adrenalin…”
“You may not think it, to look of me…”
“I’ve exhibited disregard for life.”
I have commanded armies…”
“…and conquered worlds.”
“I have no regrets..”
“…at least I can say – I’ve lived.”
“For years, I’ve lived a double life. In the day, I do my job – I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi…”
Our TV advertisement story continues with the review of “Double Life” ad by PlayStation.
This time we’ll be reflecting on the use of escapism in the commercial advertising and compare how similar or different this method is in relation to standard advertising practices.
Let’s compare the two ads, Mountain and Double Life. The first thing that comes to one mind is – people. It’s all about people. This time however the focus is not leaning towards the communal excitement, which seems to be the trend of 2002/2003.
The director of this TV commercial is taking us through the snapshots of lives led by many different individuals. This collage of picturesque lifestyles features those into whose lives we peek as they confess. In front of the camera – in front of us – these people are being honest about the things they do outside their regular lives. They’re even explaining how it might not be believable at first, but they have done things.. things which in reality might seem rather inconceivable. We are all different, and we all have our own way of living. Often that lifestyle can become repetitive and dull.
That’s when we start to dream and wish for something to happen. Something that will take us far above our daily problems and routines. A challenge, an experience, something that every human being has in their genes. The fack is – some people get to experience life in full, and some do not. Of course not everyone has experienced the terror of war, not everyone has driven their car at 200Km p/h through the street packed with police.
So one, being a curious human being, must wonder – What would I do in that situation? – How do we escape our physical disability? How do we escape our regular lives? How can we discover who we really are without experiencing life in full?
Let’s face the fact – how many of us will slay a dragon in next few days? Without being too funny, I’ll just say – none. And this is where virtual reality comes in place. Combining the modern technology with our imagination we can discover that hidden part of ourselves.
We can’t lie and say this whole digital experience is perfect – but it certainly is as close as one will ever get to fully challenging his or her own skills… safely. There is no need to act in reality as reality can often be dangerous and some things physically impossible.
So we lead a double life. During the day we work, study and do average human things. But at night we transform and do things which are outside of the reach of normal life. And we do it to get to know ourselves a bit better, we do it to release our frustration and daily pressure build-up.
This ad combines some pretty strong words with highly polished imagery. If you analyze the video by playing it slowly and pausing at scene changes, you will notice the true artistic value of this commercial.
In tradition of PlayStation ads, and at no surprise, a lot of though has gone into every second of this short film. All scenes are well done and they look like an album of carefully taken photographs. Yet the commercial runs for only 60 seconds..
I believe every good ad has a pinnacle, and the most striking moment in this commercial is a swap between the woman in an underpass and the little girl boy with the hood.
“I have commanded armies, and conquered worlds.”
That part still gives me the goose bumps. By far the most powerful TV ad moment I have seen in a very long time. The whole ‘moment’ just screams with the emotion and potential.
Look at the woman in the underpass – look at her – there is a mighty and powerful leader nested in her. She is strong and she has commanded armies!
And the little girl. An absolute contrast of power. How could this little creature conquer worlds? Now we start to wonder about the limit of human mind, and the difference between the child’s and adult’s judgment and intelligence.
“…and conquered worlds.”
Her facial expression and the way those words are spoken is simply perfect.
I cannot escape the feeling that this scene had some influence by “Dune” one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all times. A similar figure appears in the movie – a little girl all serious and powerful holding a ‘gom jabar’.
I highly encourage you to rent this movie on tape or DVD if you haven’t seen it before.
In conclusion, this effective ad ends with a strong message. We admit, we’ve been violent, and have done things that are not allowed by human laws or laws of nature. We have led a double life, but at least we got to know ourselves and experience the life in full. There are no regrets because…
Video: Double Life (QuickTime)
Escapism is the main driving element in this short film and has been skillfully embedded into the theme without being overly explicit – yet explicit enough to get the message across. It’s interesting to see advertisers focus on pragmatics, effects and outcomes of utilizing the advertised product rather than appraisal of the product itself.
We all remember those corny tourism ads with people day-dreaming about beaches, coconuts, pretty girls/boys and exotic fruit. This type of marketing is still present, often in a comical sense as it still affects a great deal of population. Some ads however take old, worn-out methods and spice them up with digital video and 3D effects.
WHAT STILL WORKS?
Let’s not forget. There ARE some things that will never fail to sell, such as sex and the element of greed. TV ads are as likely to succeed if they are funny and entertaining. Revamping the old tricks might save some time in the conceptual stage, however, the most effective ads must demonstrate something fresh, innovative and intriguing.
Double Life is a well crafted ad which combines contrasting, and almost absurd concepts with the human emotion and the need to experience the life in full. Everything in this ad, including the story line, colors, photography, music and acting has been highly perfected and mixed in a wonderful blend of vibrant and effective imagery.
Finally, an ad that carries the message as strong as human desire to explore, change and feel freedom.
Well done Frank!
Chris Muir- I was just surfing and came across the write up you’ve done on the Double Life PlayStation ad (shot by Frank Budgen). I’m a huge fan of the ad and love the line “and conquered worlds.” Like you say it gives you goose bumps. I’m just writing to let you know that this superb line is uttered by a little boy, not a little girl. He’s from a place called Fife in Scotland, which is near Edinburgh (where I live). He became quite famous (in Scotland, I assume) when the ad was running on TV and in the cinema. Just thought I’d let you know. I’m having a look at the rest of your site. It’s been a while since I’ve dusted my drum and bass records off, but that’s what I’m now off to do. If you’re looking for a chilled moment, check out a tune called Utuba by Beaumont Hannant. It’s not one for when you’re wanting to own the floor, but for after the club, it’s a sweet tune.
EXTRA: Art inspires art
This article inspired our talented friend form FanHunter.com who took our screenshots of the ad and converted into a cartoon style art. Check it out:
- AWARDS: Frank Budgen the director of “Double Life” Sony Playstation ad in 1999.
- Sony Pro Media Commercial Award.
- Downfalls: I didn’t find the scene with a pregnant woman quite appropriate as I felt sorry for the little kid crying. He obviously wasn’t too happy about being but naked and filmed for TV
- Feedback: If you have an opinion about this subject or article, please leave your comments at the forum
- Related: Sony Playstation ad review: The Mountain
- Read more articles
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Double Life ad: Image Gallery
Double Life – Lyrics
For years, I’ve lived a double life.
In the day, I do my job – I ride the bus, roll up
my sleeves with the hoi-polloi.
But at night, I live a life of exhilaration, of missed
heartbeats and adrenalin.
And, if the truth be known,
a life of dubious virtue.
I won’t deny it – I’ve been engaged in violence, even
indulged in it.
I’ve maimed and killed adversaries, and not merely
I’ve exhibited disregard for life, limb and property,
and savoured every moment.
You may not think it,
to look of me, but I have commanded armies, and conquered
And though in achieving these things I’ve set morality
I have no regrets.
For though I’ve led a double life, at least I can say
- I’ve lived.