Volkswagen’s Launch Strategy Gor GTI: An iPhone App

Volkswagen is launching the new GTI model with a singularly focused marketing strategy: an iPhone racing game app.  The carmaker says the move is as much a consideration of reaching its target audience as it is rooted in cost-efficiency.  Writing for Ad Age, Kunur Patel and Jean Halliday point out how the carmaker spent $60 million on the launch for GTI’s 2006 model, a far cry from the budget for an iPhone app.  Cost was such a factor in the new launch that VW even licensed the racing game engine from an iPhone developer.

The Ad Age writers consider VW’s decision from a quantifiable standpoint.  The more than 50 million iPhone and iPod Touch users represent a bigger potential audience than the biggest network TV shows, and a potentially better targeted one for who VW is trying to reach.  Yet a viral and PR only campaign to get one app noticed among the estimated 65,000 in Apple’s App Store might pose a challenge.  Patel and Halliday break down the carmaker s campaign and talk to analysts about the opportunity cost of VW’s approach.

Read more at Ad Age {link no longer active}.

Shack News Video Game Release List 10/25 – 10/31

Shack News lists this week s releases for PC, Xbox 360, Sony s PS2, PS3 and PSP, and Nintendo s Wii and DS.

Activision’s DJ Hero is the broadest release, hitting every major home console including PS2.  Namco-Bandai releases the long awaited Tekken 6 for PS3 and 360.  For exclusives, PS3 adds to a popular franchise with Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, while 360 gamers get Microsoft’s Forza Motorsport 3 and Rockstar’s GTA: Episodes from Liberty City.

Check out the full list at Shack News {link no longer active}.

Disney Is No Scrooge In Marketing ‘A Christmas Carol’

Disney has rolled out one of its most elaborate and expensive marketing campaigns for Robert Zemeckis’ 3D CG-animated retelling of A Christmas Carol.   Writing for NY Times, Brooks Barnes says the studio is under pressure to deliver a hit film after a money-losing quarter and the high-profile release of chairman Dick Cook.  To ensure a successful premiere for the $175 million film, and gain enough of a following to make it an annual holiday event like Zemeckis Polar Express, Disney has rolled out a literal marketing train of a campaign with a no-holds barred budget.  Along with a traditional campaign and a digital effort that’s in all of the right social media places, the studio has taken a creative approach with street marketing.  Disney unleashed Christmas carolers when it screened the film at Cannes.  It’s planning fake snow for the London premiere.  Still, the most impressive effort might be the one Brooks hints cost Cook his job: a personnel-and-budget gobbling 40-city U.S. tour by a five car train exhibiting facts and artifacts from Charles Dickens classic tale.

Read more at NY Times.

Activision Expects Slow Start For ‘DJ Hero’

Activision will not be surprised if DJ Hero sales start off slow, says an insider.  Reported by IGN, the comments were made by Guitar Hero co-founder Kai Huang at the PLAY Digital Media conference in Berkeley, California.

Huang sees DJ Hero gaining a foothold among gamers the same way the initial Guitar Hero title did, gaining a gradual following driven by in-store demos and word-of-mouth.  EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich agrees.  Divnich doesn’t think DJ Hero can reach the sales bar set by the now well-established Guitar Hero franchise.  However he sees it surpassing the first Guitar Hero based on gamer familiarity with the music genre and stronger Europe sales with the popularity of DJ culture there.

Read more at IGN.

Bayonetta Beckons To Be Stripped In Japan Ads

Sega has rolled out a billboard ad campaign for Bayonetta that taps into Japan s demonstrated fondness for playing peek-a-boo with attractive women.  Billboards displayed at Japan’s busiest metro hub Shinjuku Station feature the game’s sexy femme fatale protagonist covered by removable stickers.  Sultry poses, along with a couple randy-sounding if not completely translatable slogans, encourage passer-bys to peel off the stickers.  The stickers are fliers with information to access a mobile phone site for the game.

Read more at The Escapist.

Netflix Coming To PS3

Netflix is rolling out its streaming content service on Sony PS3 next month, reports AP.  The move comes as the company ends its one-year game console exclusivity on Microsoft Xbox 360.  On 360, Netflix has only been available to subscribers who pay $50 a month for Xbox Live Gold membership.  The PS3 service, delivered through Sony’s free PS Network, will be available free of charge to those who already subscribe to Netflix.

In addition to 360 and PS3, Netflix provides its service through Roku digital video players, Blu-ray players and internet-connected TVs.

Read more at AP {link no longer active}.

GameFly iPhone App Aims To Be A Games Portal

GameFly has a new iPhone app called GameCenter that aims to be a games portal on the go, reports Joystiq.  The app combines e-commerce functions similar to GameFly’s web site with nifty game information services.  GameCenter feeds news from GameFly’s recently acquired news site Shack News, and keeps a database of user game information such as achievements and game control layouts.

GameFly co-founder Sean Spector tells Joystiq the app is designed as a resource for gamers, not just GameFly subscribers.  He sees it growing to provide future services such as community functionality and a place to access game trailers.  The company is encouraging feedback by users on what to add to the app.

Read more at Joystiq.

Grow A Moustache, Get Into Rockstar’s Game

In conjunction with men s health charity Movember, Rockstar is running a promotion that lets one lucky moustache grower become a character in its upcoming Western shooter Read Dead Redemption.   The game maker is piggybacking Movember’s own campaign urging people to grow a moustache in November to show support for its cause.  The organization works to raise awareness of men’s health issues such as prostate cancer.

The Read Dead contest asks gamers to grow a moustache and mail a photo to Rockstar by the end of the month.  Rockstar will then judge the entries and select a winner.


Leaky ‘Left 4 Dead 2’ Trailer

Kotaku has its hands on a leaked cinematic trailer for EA and Valve’s upcoming sequel, Left 4 Dead 2.   The Zombie Survival Guide trailer is primarily pre-rendered footage setting up the game’s premise and new characters, and dropping plenty of hints to game play and weapons.  Amidst the amazing action and oozing zombies, the highlight might be just how tightly developed the game’s characters and dialogue is going to be.

Watch it at Kotaku.

Alternate Reality On A Cereal Box

French design firm Dessault Systemes has created a unique promotional tool for the upcoming Luc Besson film, Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard.   Dessault designs tools and software to create 3D images.  For Besson’s film, the company created a 3D stereoscopic screen that turns a cereal box into what it calls a Next Gen 3D game console with a motion sensor.   The promo is running on boxes of Nestle’s Chocopic cereal in Europe.

Watch it at Revolution {link no longer active}.