"Feel more than love this Valentine's," the description for the video reads. On Wednesday, Sony released its own, PlayStation-ified version of a Valentine's Day message on YouTube — and it's freaking people out.
Normally, there are two major schools of thought when it comes to Valentine's Day. There are people who gush about cupids, hearts, their crushes, marshmallows, and feeling butterflies in their belly. On the other hand, there's the (rightfully) cynical crowd turned off by the crass commodification of romance. But PlayStation falls in neither camp.
With this video, Sony seems to reaffirm its commitment to unsettling and exciting its most hardcore fans. There's no mention of the PlayStation 5 — not even a logo — but the company still wants you to "feel the power of PlayStation," with the help of hearts. Literally.
Hearts in a bunker — PlayStation's Valentine's Day ad seems eerily similar to the sinister thriller Overlord. A group of nervous-looking commandos stealthily approach a bunker only to find a scene straight out of hell. As they get accustomed to the darkness below, they realize that they are in a server room filled with rows upons rows of grisly beating hearts connected to PlayStation devices.
Heebie-jeebies as a marketing strategy — Sony likes to creep people out. Back when it launched the PlayStation 3, the company released an ad depicting a plastic baby doll in a sterile-looking room. The doll goes through a bizarre range of emotions — from giggling like an infant to maniacally laughing like a deranged man — while its eyes reflect fire, destruction, and just general chaos. In fact, the new Valentine's ad is deeply reminiscent of the Sony of yesteryear, when the marketing didn't always make sense, but it got people talking.
The baby ad, much like the bleeding-hearts-in-a-bunker ad, caught people's attention for its sheer weirdness. It's an effective marketing strategy especially when deployed in the age of the cursed image. And while it says nothing about PlayStation 5 — which arrives during the holiday season in 2020 — or Sony generally, it echoes back to a time when the company was doing some of its most daring and provocative work. The 2000s are back, and they brought the old Sony with them.