PlayStation Just Made One of the Best Star Wars Ads in a While, Thanks to Strong Storytelling

BBH New York dramatizes a playful rivalry

BBH New York stages a flirtatious and long-running rivalry in this Sony PlayStation ad supporting the launch of EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II, which drops Nov. 17.

Our story begins with boy meeting girl. In this case, the boy fancies himself a heroic Jedi, while the girl moves into the neighborhood conspicuously garbed in black and toting around a Darth Vader action figure.

A spirited, playful battle of the sexes takes hold and intensifies through the years, with Hungry Man director Wayne McClammy pulling out all the visual stops, yet never losing sight of the human story, as the guy and gal play increasingly elaborate games of one-upmanship that would make George Lucas proud:

Yeah, dude that’s a chill TIE-fighter piñata at your backyard birthday party, but it pales in comparison to her waaaay chiller Death Star treehouse! Though, as teens, covering her car with an elaborate heap of snow shaped like R2-D2 was sweet revenge served cold. Ultimately, your big mistake, my man, was getting too comfy playing Star Wars games on PlayStation as a young adult, leaving yourself wide open to her all-out AT-AT attack with the fiery wall-busting destruction.

Talk about a star-crossed pair!

That they ultimately wind up inside the game, merged with the pixelated action and warring on distant worlds with armored hordes at their command, seems fitting. This climax gives the spot an extra dimension missing from similar Star Wars-related ads for Duracell and the earlier iteration of Battlefront. It speaks more eloquently to the bonds of fandom and the power of video games than a conventional ending—e.g., they get married, have kids and pass on their love of the Star Wars franchise—ever could.

Though their relationship stays platonic, the depth of passion seems positively transcendent. Their journey reminds us how rad it would be to escape our daily grind for a galaxy far far away, competing against an evenly matched soulmate/rival on fantastic battlefields beyond space and time.

Client: PlayStation
Film: Rivalry
Produce: PS4, Star Wars Battlefront II
Campaign Name: Greatness Awaits
Eric Lempel, Senior Vice President & Head of PlayStation Network
Mary Yee, Vice President, Marketing
Eric Lachter, Director Brand Marketing
Alex Gomez, Brand Manager
Cody Morales, Brand Manager
Renée M. Holt, Manager, Agency Partnerships
Alex Hackford, Senior Artists & Repertoire / Music Affairs
Justin Fields, Music Affairs Specialist
Agency: BBH New York
Gerard Caputo, Chief Creative Officer
Alex Booker, Creative Director
Philip Sicklinger, Creative Director
Aimée Perrin, Art Director
Stu Rubin, Copywriter
Kate Morrison, Head of Production
Adam Perloff, Executive Producer
Christopher Galvin, Associate Producer
Librado Sanchez, Breck Henson, Director of Business Affairs
Kendra Schaaf, Account Director
Johnny Skwirut, Account Manager
Kendra Salvatore, Head of Strategy
Alex Beerden, Strategist
Dylan Fauss, Strategist
Zack Green, Comms Strategist
Production Company: Hungry Man
Director: Wayne McClammy
DOP: Dion Beebe
Executive Producer: Mino Jarjoura
Line Producer: Dave Bernstein
Edit Company: Work Editorial
Editor: Jono Griffith
Assistant Editor: Ellie McNaughtan & Trevor Myers
Edit Producer: Jamie Lynn Perritt
Edit Executive Producer: Jane Dilworth
Star Wars Visual Effects Industrial Light & Magic
ILM Associate VFX Supervisor: Hayden Landis
ILM Layout Supervisor: John Levin
ILM Layout Supervisor: Talmage Watson
ILM Animation Supervisor: Paul Kavanaugh
ILM Lighting Supervising Technical Dir: Leandro Estebecorena
ILM Compositing Supervisor: Jason Porter
ILM Compositing Supervisor: Mike Conte
ILM VFX Producer: Megan Matousek
ILM Associate VFX Production Manager: Emily Nelson
“Rivalry” Vignettes Visual Effects THE MILL NY
The Mill VFX Creative Director: Nathan Kane
The Mill Lead Compositor: Siro Valente
The Mill Compositing Assists: Marco Baratto, Kyle Zemborain
The Mill CG Lead: Christian Neilson
The Mill Shoot Supervisors: Nathan Kane , Gregory Gangemi
The Mill Executive Producer: Chris Kiser
The Mill Senior Producer: Nirad “Bugs” Russell
The Mill Line Producer: Perry Tate
The Mill Production coordinator: Zach Fortin
Colorist: Fergus McCall
Audio House: Skywalker Sound
Re-recording/Mixer Bonnie Wild
Star Wars Music Composed by: John Williams
Star Wars Music Master: Lucasfilms /Disney
Star Wars Music Publishing: Disney ; Warner/Chappel
Original Music Composed by Phil Kay
Original Music Company Woodwork Music

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@DaveGian 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.