Has Any Commercial Had a Better Cast of Characters Than This Legendary PlayStation Ad?

JWT's Matt Eastwood salutes 'Double Life' and his other favorite ads

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Before his too-early death in 2015 at age 61, director Frank Budgen made some of the most brilliant commercials the industry has ever seen—including Nike “Tag” in 2001 and PlayStation “Mountain” in 2003, both of which won the Film Grand Prix at Cannes.

In our latest “Best Ads Ever” video, J. Walter Thompson’s Matt Eastwood points to another spot Budgen made for PlayStation—also through TBWA London, but four years before “Mountain”—as one of his favorite ads of all time.

It was called “Double Life,” and it’s a masterpiece of writing, casting and direction. In it, a motley crew of characters reflect on their “double lives,” in which they go about their humdrum days but experience epic battles at night, thanks to PlayStation games.

The grittiness of the visuals combine with the poetry of the writing for an irresistible contrast that’s equal parts dystopian and heroic. The characters finish each other’s sentences, giving the piece a wonderful flow and a shared vision.

For years, I’ve lived a double life. In the day, I do my job—I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi … but at night, I live a life of exhilaration … of missed heartbeats and adrenalin … and, if the truth be known … a life of dubious virtue. … I won’t deny I’ve been engaged in violence, even indulged in it. … I’ve maimed and killed adversaries, and not merely in self-defense. … I’ve exhibited disregard for life … limb … and property … and savored every moment. … You may not think it, to look of me … but I have commanded armies … and conquered worlds. … And though, in achieving these things … I’ve set morality aside … I have no regrets. … For though I’ve led a double life, at least I can say … I have lived.

On-screen copy reads: “Do not underestimate the power of PlayStation.”

See the full spot here:

“I think I love [‘Double Life’] because it was one of the first [TV spots] I saw that showed me the art that could be television film,” says Eastwood, JWT’s global chief creative officer, who sat down with Adweek during One Show judging in Bermuda last month. “I remember just how beautifully executed it was … and it really spoke to me about the creative possibilities of working in film. It remains one of my favorite pieces.”

Check out the video above for more from Eastwood, including recent JWT work that he’s proud of, as well as what inspires him outside advertising.

Below, check out his other “Best Ads” picks in full.

And for more “Best Ads Ever” videos, click here.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
Publish date: April 18, 2017 https://dev.adweek.com/creativity/has-any-commercial-had-a-better-cast-of-characters-than-this-legendary-playstation-ad/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT