Hobbit Pinned For 2012

The Hobbit, a two-part adaptation of the Tolkien novel by Guillermo del Toro, is now scheduled for release in December 2012 and December 2013. Confusion rose when IMAX mistakenly pinned the first of The Hobbit movies for 2013.

While some may be disappointed the first movie is arriving later than the originally announced 2011 release date, that served as more of a guideline since no scripts had been written or any schedules or budgets drawn up.

As far as recent progress, the script for the second movie was turned in earlier in April and the financial aspects for filming are being hashed out right now. In the wake of Peter Jackson’s blockbuster movie trilogy, expectations are high for this prologue to Lord of the Rings. It’s one of those properties not just with great appeal to the gamer demographic but to all crowds; the marketing tie-ins should be fairly robust.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Avatar Sweeps Competition In Disc Charts

As expected, Avatar was at the top of the three major national video charts its first week in stores. The biggest box office hit of all time saw 6.7 million units of sales in its first four days in stores, with 2.7 million of them on Blu-ray Disc.

Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart indicates that the second best selling DVD, Crazy Heart, only sold 5 percent as many copies as Avatar, while the DVD version of Crazy Heart only sold 1.7 percent as many Blu-ray Discs. Things were slightly more even on Home Media Magazine’s rental chart, with Crazy Heart finishing second again and recording 31 percent as much activity as Avatar.

Feature: Evolution Of A Campaign: Super Street Fighter IV

“When Street Fighter returned after a ten-year hiatus with Street Fighter IV in February 2009, we knew that there was built up demand in the marketplace, but we were unsure of how big that demand actually was. In the time since Capcom had released a new Street Fighter title, Street Fighter remained a part of gaming and pop culture as fighting tournaments still featured older Street Fighter games and spoofs of the brand such as ‘Street Fighter: The Later Years’ continued to be produced. The community kept the brand alive and for those of us working on the title, the marketing campaign for SFIV was all about fun, quite a bit of nostalgia and rewarding the community that had kept the Street Fighter brand relevant.”

Emily Anadu, seen here clearly not practicing her “Hadoken!”

“From the time we announced Street Fighter IV in October of 2007 to its launch over 15 months later, we knew that we had a lot to prove as we were aiming to get back to the kind of frenzy that Street Fighter II had created at the height of its popularity. From a development standpoint, this meant bringing back some of the favorite and iconic characters such as Ryu and Chun-li and that the game must ‘feel’ like SFII so that new gamers would enjoy it while the people that had grown up with SFII would feel like they were back at their local 7-11 playing their favorite game. In order to show people how the game felt, we had to get the game in the hands of as many fans as possible at industry events and our own ‘Fight Clubs.’ These Fight Club events, modeled after the movie by the same name, were all about getting gamers together in no frills/ unexpected locations to play SFIV long before the game’s release. From a warehouse in downtown LA to a bodega basement in Brooklyn, these underground events were sometimes only announced a day in advance yet would still draw crowds of hundreds. The collective efforts of product development and marketing culminated in a launch event that drew over 4,000 fans, sales of over 500,000 units within the first few days of release, and one of the highest Metacritic scores of 2009.”

“With the current release of Super Street Fighter IV, we knew that we would face challenges. Would fans think that the title was justified so soon after the release of Street Fighter IV From a marketing communication standpoint what would we say to the fans that would make them come back to the franchise again I loved the advertising that was done for Street Fighter IV in early 2009. The ads featuring iconic character imagery along with a call to action of ‘Let’s Do This’ and lines such as ‘Hit It Again For The First Time’ and ‘Return Of The Beatdown’ had received such great fan reactions that we really wanted to raise the bar.”

“We conducted research that showed us that communicating the newest features of the game, while not making players feel like they were buying a massive patch to Street Fighter IV, and the lower price of $39.99 were critical to our success. One of the most interesting things that came out of the research was the confirmation of something that anyone who has attended a Street Fighter event has probably noticed. Unlike most games and franchises that have racial and ethnic breakdowns, which roughly correspond to the U.S. population, Street Fighter IV significantly over-indexes within African American and Asian American communities and significantly under-indexes with Caucasian consumers. Armed with the knowledge of what we had to say and who we were speaking to, we could have gone in many directions. Our ads could have featured players that looked like they had stepped out of a Benetton ad surrounded by dozens of bullet points and screenshots, but this would have been extremely lazy of us. Working with our agency Ammirati, who also did the campaign for last February’s release, I feel that we ended up in a much better place and with a campaign that I am extremely proud of.”

“We wanted to do something that would speak to all audiences but that would particularly resonate with our more urban slanting audience. I have always loved collaborations and artist series. I love things like the Mountain Dew Green Label Art Project as I like the idea of brands taking risks and letting other people tell the world how they interpret a brand. At the launch event for Street Fighter IV, we even had eight different people from the art, gaming and fashion worlds redesign old school Street Fighter II arcade cabinets because art has always been integral to the world of Street Fighter. Following this arcade project, and as we started discussing what to do with this campaign, the idea of getting different artists to re-interpret Street Fighter for the SSFIV campaign was tossed around and forgotten. After seeing concepts for the SSFIV campaign, we fell in love with the idea of one that showed two Street Fighter characters on a piece of notebook paper with doodling all around it that spoke to the new features. Although we loved this concept, we wanted to age it up, and so our idea of using artists came full circle and resulted in an artist series campaign for print and outdoor using relevant artists of today – 123Klan, Dalek, Futura, Cody Hudson and Grotesk – to communicate the new features, price and what they love about Street Fighter. These artists may be unfamiliar to you but ask any Complex or Antenna magazine reading, sneaker collecting hipster and they likely own or have coveted a piece of art, a vinyl toy, skateboard or article of clothing that was done in collaboration with one of these artists. Our agency did a fantastic job of expanding this concept to TV by using amazing animations which highlight the characters and features of the game. The commercial really came to life when music by hit record producer Just Blaze was added by working with our friends at LTD, a lifestyle agency and magazine.”

“The campaign has been met with tremendous praise by our fans and has accomplished everything we wanted it to for this particular release and for the brand. For Super Street Fighter IV, we have communicated all of the things that make this title awesome from the lower price and new online modes to the new bonus stages and new characters. For the Street Fighter brand, we have kept things fun while using art and artists as a way to stay relevant and be different. Street Fighter is more than just a game; any of the 2,000+ fans that showed up to our Fight Club this past Friday in LA can tell you it is a lifestyle and a community. We hope to keep serving this community for many years to come by continuing to make games and campaigns that our fans love.”

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A graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Business School, Emily Anadu is the Director of Brand Marketing at Capcom Entertainment, Inc. She previously held roles at Atari and EA SPORTS. Before working in gaming, Emily spent time in the confectionery and cosmetics industries.

Professional Game Reviewers: What’s Their Worth?

With the Internet giving voice to millions, it would seem there’s a potential for professional game reviewers to get drowned out in the noise. While word of mouth is key, in the case of game reviewers, they generally come from the same circles of fandom as many game consumers do.

“A recent report claims that avid gamers perceive expert reviews and publisher content as ‘biased,’ and ‘heavily commercialized.’ These sound like exaggerations that don’t reflect the opinions of the vast majority who play videogames. While of course some rabid fans may be above anyone suggesting what to make of a game, millions and millions read professional reviews every month,” said Roy Bahat, president of IGN Entertainment. “For editorial staffs at gaming sites, credibility is on the line with every review. Videogame fans will remember for years the one game they hated that got a great review — because they spent $60 on it and were disappointed. And if an editor, over time, seems to be letting bad games slide by, that editor and the outlet for which that editor writes will soon be left unread.”

“Game consumers will hotly debate the merits of various reviews, often on the sites that provide the reviews themselves. Ultimately, the two sides complement each other, with premium gaming content sites giving voice to the most outspoken individuals, who evangelize the best games to the four corners of the Earth and drive clicks; devoted gaming sites claimed over 58 million unique users in February 2010.”

“So what’s the right way for an advertiser to get its message across?s Premium gaming media sites are a phenomenal way for a marketer to reach its audience. There simply aren’t many places on the web where a marketer can reliably reach a large (but targeted) audience in a buying state of mind – and have a flexible enough palette to deliver a truly innovative campaign. Advertisers should jump on these opportunities in a way that not only respects – but enhances – the user experience,” continues Bahat. “Marketers can’t just buy ‘inventory’ – impressions alone won’t get the job done. Visitors to premium gaming sites are thinking about buying games, but they’re also inundated with facts, images, words, and messages. Clever campaigns and creative matter. And game publishers know their advertising has value regardless of how their games score with reviewers.”

“The new media universe has opened discussions about everything from toys to technology, and it’s difficult to cut through the clutter – without a little guidance. As videogames burst out of their shrink-wrap and the number of games available at any given time catapults from hundreds to millions, it’ll become even harder for people to find the games they want. Gaming media sites will have to focus on discovery in parallel with product review – but, if it’s done right, premium content sites will still be the eye of the storm for all discussions swirling around the world of games,” concluded Bahat.

Source: MediaPost {link no longer active}

Conan O’Brien Going On 60 Minutes

While Conan O’Brien is in the middle of his self-explanatory “The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour” he’s still going to appear on television this weekend. The talk show host has given an interview to CBS s 60 Minutes that will air this Sunday, the first day his agreement with NBC lets him give an interview.

O’Brien will talk about his new deal with TBS, though he’s still legally barred from bashing Jay Leno. He flirts with the restrictions, said 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft.

Since CBS can’t show O’Brien on the air before the weekend, the network will have to promote the show in unusual ways. I think we ll just show me talking to him and have to blank his face out, said Kroft.

Source: New York Times {video link no longer active}

Technology Brands Rule BrandZ Top 100

Millward Brown Optimor today released their BrandZ Top 100 ranking. 17 technology brands were on the list, making the sector hugely impactful for branding, with Google, IBM, Apple, Microsoft and HP all making up the top five brands.

“Technology brands have proved their resilience to recession because of their deep integration into our personal and business daily lives” explained Peter Walshe, global brands director at Millward Brown Optimor. “Some of the most valuable brands in the world come from this sector, Apple and IBM are the two biggest growth brands of the Top 100 in absolute terms, with increases of $20 billion and $19.8 billion respectively, showing that it’s possible to build a strong and valuable brand in both business and consumer facing markets.”

On the gaming front, the Wii was the biggest brand, seeing a 21 percent increase in value, while the DS was in second and actually declined 19 percent. The Xbox 360 was mostly flat and remained in third while the PS3 saw a 25 percent increase in value. The study also noted the rise of social games, with their low entry cost and availability on multiple platforms.

Prototype Given Away With Singularity

Activision today indicated that they will be giving away a free offering with Singularity. When the shooter becomes available on June 29, those who buy the game for Xbox 360 will receive a mail-in offer for a free copy of Prototype.

This is a neat marketing effort on Activision’s part, perhaps trying to drive up interest in two of their lesser known franchises.  However, they could also just be looking to reduce inventory. Last year’s Prototype was well reviewed and sold close to 600,000 units in the U.S. but sales could have been better still.

Halo: Reach Trailer On ‘Birth Of A Spartan’

Halo: Reach will serve as a prequel to the entire Halo series, and the latest teaser trailer for the game hints at the origins of the Spartan super-soldiers. The spot also serves to advertise the open beta for Halo: Reach, which will start May 3 for Xbox Live Gold members who have Halo 3: ODST and a hard-drive.

{video link no longer active}


Online Furniture Ads Go Fantastical

Showing that even fantasy creatures have a domestic side, Connect Furniture is running a couple of ads with characters that look like they were pulled from a fantasy MMORPG. It shows that some marketers and companies are willing to push the boundaries a bit with a product as fundamental as furniture.

The green guy is most definitely a Warhammer Orc and not a “horned troll avatar” as he is identified.


“A world of furniture for online shoppers.”

Source: Ads of the World