Focus Testing Gone Horribly Right

Nokia is promoting its N900 smart phone with a video of a focus group gone haywire, one where a subject embraces the product a little too closely. The video kicks off Nokia’s teaser campaign for its smart phone, complete with the very viral setup title The Journey Starts Here.   The premise is a dreary image of a focus group being asked about desired features on a tech device. When one subject doesn’t readily share, the customary prod from the moderator to get him involved has a fantastic consequence.


Watch it at Nokia’s web site maemoproject.

Don’t Take Snuggie Outdoors

The TV creative for the sweater-meets-blanket concept Snuggie is taking on meme status. It was recently spoofed by rock band Weezer, who promoted their last album with a commercial that mimicked Snuggies infomercial-type ads nearly frame for frame.  Now Subaru takes the ads for a spin in a spot for its Outback recreational vehicle. According to Subaru, the outdoors is no place for a Snuggie, and a Snuggie is no place for an outdoorsman.


Watch it at Ad Age.

NPD Analysis: A Shrink-Wrapped Year For Games

Gamasutra’s resident NPD data analyst Matt Matthews has done a thorough analysis of the industry sales report for October 2009.   Pointing to the month’s recorded 19 percent drop in game sales, Matthews says even with the two strongest months of the year remaining game sales are tracking towards an annual decline. He predicts an 8.5 percent drop in sales compared to 2008 on revenues of about $19.5 billion.  Matthews also looks at how Sony and Nintendo fared in the month. He says Sony’s surging PS3 hardware and software sales were somewhat offset by a dismal PSP Go launch that may have only moved 100,000 to 145,000 units. With Nintendo, he says Wii sales did beat PS3 and Xbox 360 for the month but points to a shrinking Wii software market. Wii game sales have seen sharp drops two months in a row, including a 35 percent decline in October.

Matthews offers a good cross-section of NPD data, with plenty of it charted. He also gets perspective on October figures and annual projections from NPD analyst Anita Frazier and Wedbush Morgan Securities Michael Pachter. Read more at Gamasutra.

Plenty Of Third-Party Millionaires On Wii, Says Nintendo

CNET has an interview with Nintendo of America marketing head Cammie Dunaway about how Nintendo is positioned in the console game market. Dunaway says continuing strong sales for Wii and DS, and upcoming games from powerhouse Nintendo franchises such as Mario, Zelda and Pokémon portend plenty of upside for the company. Dunaway points to Wii sales that broke the record for most console sales in 2008 with 10 million units, and its install base of 22 million units making it the top selling current console. She says Nintendo has market research identifying 50 million people who don’t own consoles but are potential Wii consumers. She also talks about Wii’s longevity, referring to the upcoming Vitality Sensor enhanced motion controller as a peripheral designed to extend the console’s life.

Prodded by CNET, Dunaway touches on third-party woes and public statements from publishers such as EA that their titles don’t do well on Wii. She points to figures showing that 43 Wii games and 60 DS games from third-parties have broken the million unit mark, both well above Nintendo’s first-party million-seller slate on each system. She suggests publishers need to get more creative with games that focus on Nintendo systems unique capabilities, and that they should better understand how to market to Nintendo’s expansive audience.

Read the full interview at CNET.

Movie Marketing Gone Rogue

Writing for Independent Film Channel, Stephen Saito looks at a handful of derailed viral marketing campaigns for films. His round-up is inspired by a recent effort for Sony’s disaster film 2012, where marketers set up a web site for a fictional government agency dedicated to human survival. The effort sent so many serious inquiries to NASA about a coming disaster that the organization set up its own site setting facts straight about the 2012 apocalypse legend. Saito looks at other campaigns that attracted the wrong attention, from LA bomb squads dismantling newspaper racks playing the Mission Impossible theme to Boston police considering that terrorists might shroud their next strike in a cartoon character flipping the bird.

Read more at IFC.

‘Modern Warfare 2’ Sucking Gamer Time And Money

Activision has released figures showing gamers dedicated much money and time to Modern Warfare 2. As reported in Kotaku, the publisher says the title raked in more than $550 million dollars in its first five days. First day buyers also flocked to play the game online, with more than 2.2. million people logging more than 5.2 million hours playing multiplayer, with the number of players on Xbox Live setting a new single-day record. Read more at Kotaku.

Activision’s New Game Studio Headed By EA Vets

Activision has launched a new game development studio headed by Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey, reports Edge-Online. The pair are former EA staffers, heading up Dead Space developer Visceral Games until they left the company for Activision in July.  They now head up Activision s newest California-studio Sledgehammer Games, working on an unannounced title. Condrey said in a statement that Activision s independent studio model is very empowering. Read more at Edge-Online.

‘EA Sports Active’ Gets Brick And Mortar Support

EA is serious enough about increasing its Nintendo business that it s willing to build brick and mortar to support a Wii game. As reported in Kotaku, the publisher is promoting its exercise simulator EA Sports Active for Wii through two storefronts located in Boston and San Francisco. The locations are dedicated entirely to selling the game and its accessories, with storefronts that seem to channel mobile carrier and Apple stores in design and layout. EA says the stores are open through December 14 of this year. Read more at Kotaku.

US Sporting Goods Retailer Will Sell Wii

Nintendo has partnered with Sports Authority to bring the Wii Fit line to the retailer’s US-based sporting goods stores, reports Industry Gamers. Nintendo will sell Wii systems along with games and accessories from the Wii Fit line at the stores. It will also set up demo stations at Sports Authority locations to promote Wii Fit titles. Sports Authority says the retailer recognized Wii as a product that’s helping people stay active.

PS3 Gets Facebook Today

Sony has released the PS3 firmware update bringing Facebook to PlayStation Network, reports Joystiq. Rumors had been swirling for a few days that Sony was planning the feature, a move that matched Microsoft s much publicized roll out of Twitter and Facebook for Xbox Live.  Within days of confirming the rumors, and one day after Xbox 360 got its social nets, Sony has released firmware update version 3.1 integrating Facebook into PSN. Read more at Joystiq.