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PlayStation "Marcus"

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Sony's PlayStation advertising has gotten good mileage out of "Kevin Butler," a fictitious (we hope) executive of the company, as he combines the role of corporate suit and chronic wiseacre. He shows more versatility in this new PSP spot (via Deutsch/LA) when momentarily thrust into the role of straight man for someone else's smart-mouthing. When a young fellow named Marcus Rivers classifies Butler as the sort who wears a clip-on tie, this palpable hit instantly elevates Rivers to the status of PSP spokeskid. And, indeed, Butler -- quickly recovering his composure -- instructs the lad to "start on Monday." (The spot flashes the Web address marcuspsp.com onscreen as a kind of confirmation of this new hire.) Seemingly plucking Rivers from the population of PSP devotees, the commercial is cleverly calculated to help Sony bond with its core users. In effect, the company is acknowledging that PSP belongs as much to its fans as to the firm, and loyal gamers should eat up that message with a spoon. --Mark Dolliver