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

HP Enters Smartphone Business With Palm Purchase

Palm revolutionized the way people think about portable computers and devices with its Palm series and more recently with their Treo mobile phones. The company has seen diminished market percentage with smartphones over the past year, however, and is now selling itself to Hewlett-Packard for $1.2 billion.

This move is significant since it bails out Palm and puts HP in the race with tech giants like Apple, Google and Microsoft in the smartphone market. HP also plans to use Palm’s Web OS operating system (which is generally well regarded in the tech field) for tablet computers to potentially compete with Apple s iPad. Whether HP can use its pull as the largest personal computer maker with Palm’s various technologies and patents to carve out a place in new mobile computing space remains to be seen.

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.”

_ _

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.

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.

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Audi Launches Tony Stark Innovation Challenge

Furthering Audi’s promotions for Iron Man 2 (most of which focus on Tony Stark’s R8 Spyder), the car company today announced a competition called “The Tony Stark Innovation Challenge.” The contest asks users to submit two-minute videos which demostrate ideas for improved living using technology, and then get other users on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace to rate their ideas.

“Achieving progress through technology is the message behind Iron Man 2, and this idea is fundamental to Audi,” said Scott Keogh, Chief Marketing Officer, Audi of America. “The partnership in Iron Man 2 celebrates our shared focus on innovation, and this contest allows anyone with a great idea to not just express it, but potentially make a true difference within their industry.”

Users can submit videos from April 28, 2010 until June 9, 2010. For full details, visit www.tonystarkinnovationchallenge.com.

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.

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

Warcraft Movie Still Being Felt Out

World of Warcraft is the largest subscription MMO on the planet, and has reach as a brand that few other gaming franchises can brag about. Games and movies haven’t generally mixed well, however, so the slow and steady approach that Blizzard vice president of creative development Chris Metzen describes is probably a good idea.

“We’ve been through a number of story meetings, and we re still kind of getting it together with Raimi and his team and jamming on themes that we want to chase,” said Metzen. ‘We’re kinda getting a lot of  values together what kind of story we want to tell, what do we want people to feel, what is the best way to look at this big franchise. We had had some script iterations previous to Raimi coming on board that were cool, that had some really good bits sometimes a little too overcooked or a little too undercooked. We re still trying to feel out that space, so as he came in he wanted to have fresh eyes and look at the content of Warcraft in such a way as to dig out what will most people feel: ‘Oh, I get it, that matches my expectations when I played.'”

“You can aim the camera in a hundred different directions in a place like Warcraft so it s kind of finding that right one,” he added. “But in terms of division of time, or whatever, it doesn’t take up a tremendous amount of time these days. It s really just strategic phone calls or strategic meetings from time to time until things really get moving on the Hollywood side.”

Source: VG247