Scion Pushing ‘Unlock The TC Road Trip’ Game

Scion announced a new online competition called Unlock the tC Road Trip recently. Beginning June 1, players will have a chance to win a new 2011 Scion tC.

Unlock the tC Road Trip game lets us unveil and launch the next-generation tC virtually and in the real-world through an immersive and engaging game,” said Jack Hollis, vice president, Scion.

The Unlock the tC Road Trip game is all about customization for players’ rides as they tour from New York to Miami to Los Angeles, taking side trips along the way. Four finalists will be flown to Los Angeles to compete in a cross country competition.

To find out more, visit

Google Pac-Man Ate Up Millions In Productivity

Late last week, Google launched its first ever interactive doodle, this one celebrating 30 years of Pac-Man. There was a good deal of media coverage surrounding the event, even more than Google expected.

“We’ve been overwhelmed, but not surprised, by the success of our 30th anniversary Pac-Man doodle,” said Google vice president of search products and user experience Marissa Mayer in a blog post.

RescueTime, which makes productivity tracking and optimization software, said on its blog after doing some research that of roughly 11,000 users they monitored, the web surfers spent an average of 36 seconds more on during the day. Multiplying that by the average hourly rate of $25, it was estimated that $120 million was lost in workday productivity.

The doodle is still playable at for those that want to burn even more workday productivity.

Source: Herald Sun

Microsoft Shake Up: What Does It Mean For Windows Mobile 7?

Microsoft recently confirmed that it’s reorganizing the top of the Entertainment and Devices Division, pushing out influential executives Robbie Bach and J Allard. This does not bode well for the division, which covers mobile offerings, the Xbox brand, Zune, and other electronics products.

Let’s face it, though, E&DD could use a hard slap in the face to wake it from its stupor. It took most of the past decade and $8 billion to squeak Xbox marginally into the black, writes Dave Methvin. Zune never made a dent in the iPod’s dominance. Microsoft’s trendy-wannabe Kin phones landed with a thud. The buzz-generating Courier tablet project was killed, supposedly over the objections of the now-departing J Allard. Hewlett Packard decides to buy Palm and use the PalmOS for its tablets, rather than a Microsoft product.

With Bach not being replaced, it puts SVP Andy Lees more fully in control of the Mobile Communications Business. This comes at a key time for the company, as it looks to issue up one of its most important offerings of the year in Windows Phone 7.

There are some hopeful signs. The reorganization separates the mobile business from the rest of Eⅅ that makes some sense given that Microsoft’s primary mobile customers (at least the current ones) are businesses, whereas most of the other components are consumer-focused, notes Methvin. Yet Microsoft is falling behind its competitors. Apple is soon revealing its next-generation phone, and Google’s Android OS is now on dozens of devices using many different carriers. By the time Windows Phone 7 arrives, those two will be even more entrenched and further along.

Perhaps the most ominous angle of this reorganization is that Steve Ballmer will be personally overseeing E&DD. Ballmer’s leadership hasn’t driven Microsoft to excellence over the past decade. If he’s taking a more active role in Windows Phone 7, perhaps this will be his final sink-or-swim moment, he concludes.

Source: InformationWeek

Halo: Reach Beta: The Good, The Badass, And The Ugly

The open beta for Halo: Reach‘s multiplayer recently concluded, with over 2.7 million players participating worldwide. Now, Bungie has released a valentine of sorts to their fans, highlighting The Good, The Badass, and The Ugly from the beta. You can bet that Microsoft and Bungie will be doing plenty to keep buzz high for what’s sure to be a blockbuster launch later this year.

Lost Fans On Target

Target launched some of the more clever ads for the Lost finale. The three brief spots dealt with numbers being entered on a computer, a wild boar, and the smoke monster.

Rock Band Demo Hints At Keyboard

Harmonix today used a demo for Green Day: Rock Band to hint at some new additions for the franchise. Along with the usual guitar, base, drums and harmonized vocals, there’s also a new icon for a keyboard, implying big things for Rock Band 3. It’s a cool way to promote features for the game, and the news spread through the Rock Band community like wildfire.

Yes, it is real!

Sony Bags HBO Content For PSN

Sony Computer Entertainment America announced recently that HBO programming will be offered on PSN for purchase on PS3 and PSP. Shows available include ongoing hits like True Blood and Entourage, along with classic series like The Sopranos and Sex and the City.

“The HBO library of premium original content is a perfect example of how PS3 has become the most content rich entertainment platform in the living room,” said Peter Dille, senior vice president, marketing and PlayStation Network, SCEA. “When you combine the iconic programming from HBO with the existing TV, film, live sports and original programming available on PlayStation Network, our customers have access to the content they want, when they want it, at home or on the go with the PSP.”

“We’re extremely pleased to offer our premium programming on Sony Computer Entertainment’s PS3 system,” said Henry McGee, president, HBO Home Entertainment. “This premier gaming system will offer an exciting new way for consumers to purchase HBO’s award-winning programming.”

This deal (while not exclusive) is important for Sony, as it looks to position the PS3 as the choice for multimedia entertainment over the Xbox 360.

Feature: Marketing The Nine Circles For Dante’s Inferno

It can be tough to get a product recognized in this busy market filled with known franchises. Electronic Arts was well aware of this for Dante’s Inferno, so they launched a nine-month campaign to help build awareness for the game. We talked with Phil Marineau, Sr. Product Manager for Dante’s Inferno, about what worked, what didn’t and what might be used again in the future.

Firstly, tell us a little big about your experience in the industry.

Phil Marineau: I started at Midway in 2000, launching the Hits and Ballers franchise. In 2004, I went to business school and went back to EA in 2006. I worked on most of the marketing for Dante’s Inferno and right now, I’m working on Bulletstorm, Death Spank and an unannounced title.

Bulletstorm looks like a really exciting shooter title to work on.

PM: People Can Fly and Epic have been working very hard to polish Bulletstorm. I’ve only played a couple levels, but it really delivers shooter action on a level never seen before.

Back to the subject at hand, tell us about the reception to the first teaser trailer you did for Dante’s Inferno during Spike’s VGAs. What did you hear from fans about that ad, and were you trying to set the tone for the campaign and game overall?

PM: It was more of a fantastic opportunity than anything else. We love Spike and GameTrailers, and they contacted us late to say there was an opportunity to do it for them. So it was put together very quickly, but it certainly made a good impression. We were thrilled to be included, so we were excited for it.

Tell us about the Hawk Panther and Mass: We Prey viral websites and how they came about.

PM: In regards to any of the viral stuff, in some of the research we looked at, people knew about the book Dante’s Inferno but they didn’t know many of the details. So we felt that providing some breakdown of what it was about was important, and we did a circle a month. We worked with some fantastic partners and we came up with a marketing idea for that specific circle of hell. On the ninth day of each month, we changed the website to reflect the new sin. It was funny, we were being blamed for random stuff — people saw something unusual and they assumed we were up to it!

Everyone remembers the Wrath boxes and Greed checks that you sent out -were you pleased with how they were received?

PM: We were thrilled. We were trying to be inclusive with that, though we certainly targeted certain editors. All the videos made, particularly over at Destructoid were great. Some people thought we were trying to bribe editors with the greed checks! To the poet Dante, greed equated to both hoarding and wasting, so we had responses based upon whether people spent or destroyed their checks. Some people were clever and donated the money to charity, and we had to come up with an ‘absolved’ response.

$200 seems awfullly cheap for a soul.

As for the wrath box, that also got a good response. There were the videos and Yahtzee mentioned it in his review. The only thing with wrath box was once you saw it once, you got the idea of what it was about — there weren’t a lot of other surprises to it.

It was funny to hear from Jonathan Knight that he was totally unaware of the fake religious protest at E3. How was that event set up?

PM: There were only three or four people at EA who knew about that beforehand. We did want natural reactions from the team. With all of our stunts, we wanted people to be talking about things. It was a great event for us. People wondered about it, but we got written about by LA Times and Washington Post, and it got the people talking about the game.

How did the Super Bowl ad with the Bill Withers song come to be and was EA pleased with their first Super Bowl spot?

PM: From the marketing standpoint, we couldn’t be more pleased. With Dante’s we’ve tried to have big ideas the whole time and that came up with this; we could buy a whole bunch of cable spots or we could go after the large reach, the large audience. We knew we had to leverage it as much as possible and we told management how we were going to do it. We got lucky; it was the third most watched spot of the Super Bowl. People, WSJ put it in the top five, Wired put it number one. Our Google searches were through the roof. So the Super Bowl spot worked well for us.

Are you pleased with the overall reception of Dante’s Inferno, commercially and otherwise?

PM: Absolutely. It was a great campaign to work on. Our marketers were energized and smart in terms of what the team was able to lend to it. We got over 30,000 members on Facebook. It rubbed some people the wrong way and some people thought we saturated, but with all the sequels coming, we had to stand out. The DLC has been launched and that’s gotten a good reception too.

What do you think you, EA and Visceral learned from the campaign that you’ll carry forward?

PM: The one thing I learned is that you need to be reactive to consumer scenarios. The Comic Con showing wasn’t well received, and also the reaction to the greed checks wasn’t all positive. In terms of nine months of communications, it’s all about getting people to recognize it. Like, Dead Space 2 the assets can be more rare as opposed to Dante’s where people don’t know about it. It was a successful roadmap for the future. One thing we can do for all future campaigns is the catchphrase ‘Go to Hell’ – we think we can use that for anything for the franchise going forward.

Thanks for your time Phil.


Google, Sony Head Up Reputable Brands

Consumers from 23 countries have sounded off on their favorite brands in the Reputation Institute’s Global Reputation Pulse 2010 report. Topping the list was search giant Google, followed by electronics giant Sony.

The top five was rounded out with Walt Disney, BMW and Daimler/Mercedes-Benz. Apple and Nokia came in sixth and seventh, marking how important technology brands are to people. Microsoft, Panasonic, Philips, IBM and HP all made the top 20. Nintendo, notably, was left off the list because it did not generate enough revenue to qualify in 2009.