A King Escapes Drudgery of His Throne Thanks to PlayStation in New Epic From BBH

Fantasy fighting is better than the real thing

My kingdom for a console!

A bored medieval monarch abdicates his throne—well, he vanishes, at any rate—to find fantastical fulfillment in the larger-than-life world of Sony PlayStation 4 in this rollicking two-minute brand film from BBH New York.

Heavy is the head—eh, sire? In time, all those fawning courtiers and bejeweled baubles fail to satisfy. As for lounging around all day in a full suit of armor, well, it gets old after a while. And rusty.

But thanks to the epic eye of Epoch Films director Martin de Thurah, our sad sovereign soon gets his mojo back in explosive, cinematic PS4 style:

There now, in the midst of much pixelated sound and fury, His Majesty clearly feels better. All hail the raging royal!

"This is an ode to adventurers," PlayStation svp of marketing Eric Lempel tells AdFreak. "It will particularly inspire fans to keep exploring exciting worlds like those featured in the ad—from swinging through the streets of Manhattan as Spider-Man or exploring the lush, post-apocalyptic world of Horizon Zero Dawn. Some viewers will also pick up on many of their favorite games from the past, so the spot will be sentimental for some."

All told, "nearly every scene in this ad contains an Easter egg from an iconic video game, and there are more than 70 in total," Lempel says. Can you spot the apple of Eden from Assassin's Creed? The Gjallarhorn from Destiny? That strange relic from the Uncharted series? Do any of us even have lives anymore?

De Thurah—famed for directing blockbuster campaigns from Under Armour, Samsung and Delta—paints this PS4 tale in similarly broad, high-impact strokes. The 60-second edit, placing greater emphasis on the ruler's video valor, feels especially vital:

Ultimately, de Thurah and his team shot for five days in the Czech Republic, including interiors and exteriors at two castles built in the 13th and 14th centuries.

"One of the biggest production challenges was matching the scale of the props and costumes to their appearance in the video games they were pulled from," says Lempel. "Gamers are a passionate audience, so it was important to us to accurately represent the game worlds they know and love."

In bringing that vision to life, "there were times when the team would look around and have to pinch themselves at the scale and intricacy of some of the props," he says, "many of which were realized for the first time outside of their game worlds."

Of course, the notion of folks escaping the drudgery of the daily grind for a dip in the digital gaming dimension is nothing new. EA's Star Wars: Battlefront trailer notably used a similar central conceit, though PS4's effort creates a more urgent, intense sensory canvas.

Sweet dreams of escape and greatness have timeless appeal, no less for potentates perched on their thrones of power than for us plebes chasing high scores from our nacho-stained recliners.

In that sense, PS4 and its ilk level the playing field, allowing just about everyone to join in gaming exploits fit for a king. (Provided you can handle the price tag, peasants!)


Client: Sony PlayStation

Eric Lempel, Senior Vice President Marketing & Head of PlayStation Network, Sony Interactive Entertainment America

John Kohler, Vice President, Marketing, Sony Interactive Entertainment America

Eric Lachter, Director Brand Marketing, Sony Interactive Entertainment America

Brad Bennett, Senior Brand Manager, Sony Interactive Entertainment America

Alex Gomez, Brand Manager, Sony Interactive Entertainment America


John Patroulis, Creative Chairman

Ari Weiss, Chief Creative Officer

Dean Woodhouse, Creative Director

Hugo Bierschenk, Creative Director

Kate Morrison, Head of Production

Adam Perloff, Executive Producer

Sean McGee, Head of Business Affairs

Finnian O'Neill, Business Director

Justin Marciani, Account Director

Johnny Skwirut, Account Executive

Brian Groff, Account Executive

Kendra Salvatore, Strategy Director

Production Company: Epoch Films

Director: Martin de Thurah

Director of Photography: Kasper Tuxen

Line Producer: Anura Idupuganti

Production Designer: Floyd Albee

Editor: Mikkel EG Nielsen

Assistant Editor: Alex Liu

Editorial Company: Rock, Paper, Scissors

Visual Effects: The Mill

Color: Fergus McCall

VFX Supervisor / Lead Compositor: Nathan Kane

VFX Supervisor / CG Supervisor: Christian Nielsen

VFX Producer: Dan Love

VFX Executive Producer: Sean Costelloe

Sound Editing/Mixing: Chris Afzal

Score: Philip Kay* 

*based on the song "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by The Eurythmics

Sound Design: Adrian Aureliu

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@DaveGian davegia@hotmail.com David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.