NEWS - Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Advent Rising’s Marketing Savy

Although Advent Rising could be faring better critically, the game’s marketing campaign--filled with print ads, comic inserts, a trailer at theaters before certain showings of Star Wars, and a very unique millon-dollar contest--will no doubt help the game commercially. Majesco appears to be a publisher on the rise, and with smart campaigns like this and the one for Psychonauts before it, the company is likely to grow even more. Majesco’s Advent Rising might not be receiving the high marks of their previous release Psychonauts, but the publisher is still going above and beyond nearly everyone else when it comes to marketing the title. The massive campaign put together for the title is doing an excellent job of making Rising seem more like a somewhat bumpy start for an extended series, instead of the fizzling of a grand idea. June NPD data will tell the whole story, but it would not be surprising to see the title debut higher than any of the growing publisher’s previous titles. Targeting Sci-Fi Enthusiasts Although growing rapidly in terms of revenues, Majesco is still a relatively small publisher. This hasn’t stopped them from approaching the marketing of their biggest titles in the biggest way possible. Instead of leveraging the hardcore community to try to grow into the next Activision or EA, the company has instead been aggressively targeting the mainstream with very expensive campaigns. [ "Majesco’s new chairman Carl Yankowski really gave us a challenge to come up with creative promotions that go above and beyond what is typically done in this industry," Ken Gold, Vice President of Marketing, Majesco ] The best example is the Advent trailer that ran before Episode III in thousands of theaters nationwide. Advent isn’t a small title by any means, but it’s traditionally been the biggest of the big, the "Halo 2’s," that received the theater treatment. The spot included a portion of the game’s original orchestrated score, conducted by Emmy award winner Mark Watters. The game’s print campaign was featured in the usual line-up of gaming and lifestyle magazines, including EGM and Stuff, but it also ran in more Sci-Fi skewing readerships, including Wizard and Star Wars Insider. Over 500,000 custom Advent Rising comics were inserted into DC Comics issues as part of an integrated sweepstakes as well. The print ads, comic inserts, and pre-Star Wars trailer all seem to be designed to get science fiction fans, whether they’re gamers or not, familiar with the Advent brand. With Hugo and Nebula award winning author Orson Scott Card’s name attached to the project, it will most likely prove to be a smart group to target. Creative Contest Ensures Headlines "Majesco’s new chairman Carl Yankowski really gave us a challenge to come up with creative promotions that go above and beyond what is typically done in this industry," Majesco’s Vice President of Marketing Ken Gold told GameDAILY BIZ. For Advent Rising the company took advantage of the ability to make games "Live Aware" by building in a time-released scavenger hunt within the game itself. Once a week, for the next six weeks, a small letter "A" will be downloaded via Xbox Live and hidden within a level of the game, with a clue provided to the media at that time. Once the "A" is found gamers are given a code to access the contest website. The first to do so is that week’s winner. The grand prize is an impressive $1 million paid out over 20 years, although there are a variety of other prizes up for grabs including XBL subscription cards, SoBe drinks, Advent strategy guides, Radica Xbox controllers, and more. This contest is one of the best ideas yet seen in this industry, for multiple reasons. Since it runs for a month and a half, it should keep owners involved in the experience far longer than they would have been otherwise. Furthermore, Majesco has been very public about this being the first part of a trilogy, so getting gamers to play the game six weeks after its release and probably long after they’ve beaten it is very important. It also ensures a month- and-a-half of buzz and gaming headlines. Gaming blogs and message boards will have far more Advent Rising chatter six weeks from now when the final clue is revealed than any other game launched in early June. Games may sit on the shelf at full price for a year or more, but any retail manager will tell you that their lifespan is considerably less. For better or worse, game sales are becoming more and more frontloaded, and what doesn’t sell at or very near launch stands a strong chance of remaining on the shelf until there’s a price drop. This contest helps extend Advent’s life, while also generating press, and keeping owners more interested in the world that developer GlyphX has created.
Source: http://www.gamedaily

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