Wieden + Kennedy in Tokyo has rolled out a new Sony PlayStation 3 campaign called PlayFace, showing the facial contortions that gamers make while they're playing. It's all pretty stylish and exaggerated—the players also make lots of buzzing, beeping and cracking sound effects, which gives them a robotlike aspect. But despite all the bells and whistles, as AdFreak sister blog PDNPulse points out, there's been some grousing that the PlayFace work (the idea, if not the execution) is similar to some still photos that artist Phil Toledano did in 2002, also showing gamers' faces. Toledano tells the gaming blog Kotaku that Wieden "ripped me off," but that seems a bit excessive. Toledano's insight—that people let their guard down when they're focused intently on something (like gaming), and that you can see "a hidden part of their character" in those moments—itself wasn't so new. Philippe Halsman did similar stuff in the pre-video-game 1950s, when he began taking pictures of people while they were jumping—and had to focus on that, rather than on posing for the camera. (Halsman's work eventually inspired some cool ads for HBO's Six Feet Under.) PDN further points to some 2008 gamer portraits by Robbie Cooper, who had basically the same idea as Toledano. Seems like lots of people have been down this road. UPDATE: Compare Wieden's ad to Cooper's "Immersion" video below.
—Posted by Tim Nudd