To all the gamers out there who need a good cry, a good laugh, a thrill or even a job or relationship, there’s PlayStation Therapy. Advertising and Digital Design grad Matthew Lafergola, ’21, visualizes how PlayStation characters aren’t just for shooting at, but also for providing cathartic experiences. There’s a vault of PlayStation stories and characters that can help you escape from life’s burdens. You just need to get engaged and help increase traffic to PlayStation’s subscription.
“Everyone deals with stress and hardships, and escaping from that is enticing,” says Lafergola about his Senior Thesis Ad Campaign. People can look at the parts of this campaign and see themselves in it,” he says.
For his campaign, Lafergola had to articulate both a problem and solution: The problem is that PlayStation needs to increase traffic to its subscription service, PS Now, which pales by comparison to competitors like Xbox Gamepass.
His solution? “Show gamers that PS Now is the stress relief they need to escape life’s burdens. The service provides an endless number of experiences, stories, and characters that players can resonate with.”
For advertising students, the senior thesis is a culmination of what they’ve learned throughout their major. The one thing that differs from a professional ad campaign is that students can pick their own topic.
“After four years of assignments and guidelines, I was able to go all-in on a topic I’m passionate about, and direct it from start to finish,” he says.
“I chose a topic near and dear to me,” says Lafergola. I’ve played video games my whole button-mashing life. They brought my brother and whole family closer together,” he says.
“Matt’s campaign hits that sweet spot all great work tries to, but rarely finds. First, It solves a real business problem. It does so in a unique way. And it manages to entertain us at the same time. This is how deeper consumer connections are formed,” says Advertising and Digital Design Professor Craig Markus.
“Every puzzle piece of the campaign was essential for getting the full picture” says Lafergola.
If this campaign were a real one, commissioned by a client, this is what it would include:
A written “manifesto” that captures the essence and message of a brand:
Lafergola’s manifesto proclaims there’s a window beyond gaming. There are comforts to be had and courage to be found in the stories and characters that can support you in life’s challenges.
Three poster ads:
Lafergola’s ads feature PlayStation-exclusive characters that are dealing with daily struggles. “They show that even the mighty and heroic can fall victim to everyday burdens.” Also included are banner ads. “They’re those annoying ads that pop up in the corners of your webpages!” he says.
An interactive element:
This gives consumers a way to not only look at the campaign but to use it as well, says Lafergola. His “Calm App” links players to their PlayStation Now account to get access to sleep stories, soundscapes and more, narrated by PlayStation characters.
The experiential portion:
This can be an event of some sort. For this campaign, there are PlayStation Meditation pop-ups located in parks around the world like Central Park. The sessions are hosted by PlayStation characters like Kratos.
The scented candles are an example of merchandize that could be purchased at the meditation pop-ups:
The innovative feature:
This is the “PS Mood” feature, which goes with the user interface image.
In the practical sense, it’s where players go to choose games “that complement their mood.” Says Lafergola, “It’s the ‘Wow! no-one-has-done-this-before’ portion of the campaign.”
Case study video:
The crown jewel of the campaign is the video (above) that ties everything together in a concise and compelling one- to two-minute package.
“The video is my favorite part. Selling the idea effectively is so exciting,” says Lafergola. “I wanted to capture the escape. I wanted people to see that their struggles and stresses are real and justified. Sometimes all you need is a little time away from this world so you can jump into another one where your problems don’t weigh you down. When you come back to the real world, you’re ready to face your roadblocks head-on.”
Lafergola won’t always be working on ad campaigns related to video games. “My passion for advertising and design applies to many topics and themes. I’ve loved doing assignments pertaining to bullying, health and nutrition.”
He also wants to pursue motion graphics design. “Motion is a powerful vehicle for storytelling and that’s essentially what advertising is: a story,” he says.
“I want to hopefully create powerful art that impacts people in a meaningful way.”
To learn more about the Advertising and Digital Design major go to A&DD at FIT.
All images used with permission.