GI Joe Tops Box Office

GI Joe topped the box office this weekend with over $100 million coming in, domestically and internationally.  The movie, based on the popular action figures, had a heavy-action, light-story theme that targeted young males in a big way, and to a big payoff.

This marks Paramount’s third blockbuster hit of the year, with GI Joe joining Star Trek and the Transformers sequel as huge summer hits.  What else did they have in common   Oh, right, young males as their key audience.

One thing that did worry Paramount was the international perception of GI Joe, the classically American hero, and whether or not that would stop moviegoers from watching.  It did not.

From Variety:

“G.I. Joe” was far from being a guaranteed success, given the property’s U.S. military theme, which could particularly be a issue for overseas auds.

Par addressed the issue by sticking closer to the comicbook series, which expanded the original team of U.S. military operatives to include operatives from other countries. Studio further stressed this point by adding “Rise of the Cobra” to the movie s title.

“We wanted audiences to know this was more than just a story about G.I. Joe, ” said Paramount prexy of international distribution Andrew Cripps.

Film was set in a number of foreign locales, and featured an international cast including Korean thesp Byung-hun Lee, Brit Sienna Miller, French-Moroccan Said Taghmaoui and South African Arnold Vosloo.

What Is G?

From Ad Age: {link no longer active}

PepsiCo restaged its iconic Gatorade brand earlier this year. According to Beverage Digest, Gatorade’s volume plummeted 18 percent in the first half of 2009, when the effort, from TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles, asked and then answered “What is G?”

Under increased pressure from rivals Powerade (Coca-Cola) and Vitamin Water (Glaceau), Gatorade started rebranding itself simply as G with a consolidated marketing plan that included huge sports figures and massive TV budgets.

So far the efforts don t seem to be paying off, especially with younger consumers who are facing brand confusion instead of just seeing G as cutting edge.

Gatorade says there will be marketing changes in early 2010 to stop the precipitous slide, but no details were given on how they intend on getting the youth audience to stay put with Gatorade.

Reminds us of how Modern Warfare 2 was Modern Warfare 2 until Activision realized it would sell significantly less copies of the game compared to calling it Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Marketers <3 iPhone

Ad Age has an article on the love affair between marketers and the iPhone, and how it may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

From Ad Age: {link no longer active}

But marketers would be foolish to see the iPhone as the end-all in mobile marketing. So when is it time to branch out? And what’s involved? 

Ad Age goes on to talk about how development on the Google mobile platform Android and others are clear avenues for success when the iPhone route exhausts itself.

Of particular interest to marketers should be the actual usage these apps see on a regular basis.

Some marketers might do well to ask themselves whether they need an app at all. In many cases, the mobile web can accomplish what apps purport to do — and it can be accessible to a lot more users. Only 20 percent of U.S. mobile users carry a smartphone, and interest in apps can flame out quickly. In analyzing 30 million iPhone app downloads, analytics firm Pinch Media found only about 20 percent of consumers return to use a free app after the initial download; 30 days later, less than five percent are using it.

What has your experience been with iPhone apps in marketing to your audience?   Worth the cost and effort or are you underwhelmed?

Video Of The Day: Classical Music Break

High school music assemblies are a crapshoot and you never know what to expect, which makes today s video of the day so fun.

A quartet out of Seattle delighted an audience with classical renditions of main video game theme songs, from Mario to Halo, and even Pong. It s worth a listen, including the laughs thanks to the accompanying performance dance routines.

Video Of The Day: Players Only

Digital Trends press release:

Technology supersite Digital Trends today announced the debut of season two of its popular PC and video game show Players Only with Scott Steinberg. New episodes of the acclaimed documentary series, which offers viewers an inside look at the $22 billion interactive entertainment business, will be available starting today and every Monday from August 17-September 28 at The action kicks off immediately with a special two-part season opener, as the biggest names in gaming cast aside the industry s recession-proof image and reveal whether or not video games are ultimately destined for extinction.

In addition to regular episodes, which are free to distribute via all electronic forms, Players Only with Scott Steinberg’s 2009 run will also feature the premiere of multiple extended Director’s Cut editions, available exclusively at Topics covered this season will range from the changing face of game design and journalism to the rise of indie games, social networks and devices like the iPhone and Microsoft’s motion-sensing Project Natal control system, which are quickly reshaping the future of play. Hosted by noted PC and video game expert Scott Steinberg (, the show will also feature guest appearances by game industry stars such as David Perry, Cliff Bleszinski, Chris Taylor, Ted Price, Ian Livingstone, John Romero, Lorne Lanning and Brad Wardell.

Their first episode is embedded below, and it’s our video of the day.

{link no longer active}

Perfect Teammates: Sports Illustrated and Madden

Madden NFL 10 comes out in a matter of weeks and EA is making a significant push to get the game in as many hands as possible.

The video game publisher is trying something new with Sports Illustrated and is offering a console version of the game with any new subscription to the magazine.  The package retails for $49, so for those gamers looking to purchase the $60 game, this may be right up their alley.

This is an obvious but innovative way to communicate directly to the football fan and sports gamer in a way we haven t seen before.  The deal looks to be mutually beneficial to both parties, and we wonder if this is the first of many sports tie-ins to come between the two companies.

[Time via Joystiq]

Interesting Madden Incentives At Wal-Mart

From Kotaku: {link no longer active}

First off, Wal-Mart stores will have a limited edition Gillette Fusion NFL razor for sale with the game, with handles featuring your favorite NFL team. It doesn’t specify that this is the Gillette Fusion Gamer, but seeing as that’s just the normal Fusion marketed at gamers, it might as well be the same thing.

Then come the roses.

It seems as though Wal-Mart also understands the plight of spouses during Madden football season, and is moving their supply of dozens of roses to the electronics department to take advantage of the rush, cutting the cost to $8.

Throw in the razor blade and a $10 pre-order gift card, and you ve got yourself one helluva marketing offer.

Wii Vitality Sensor Marketing Begins

At this year s E3, Nintendo showed off the Wii Vitality Sensor, a pulse-detecting Wii peripheral that fits snugly onto your finger.  The peripheral was met with some laughter and derision, but remember when the Wii Balance Board (with Wii Fit) was met with the same sort of apathy?

Fast forward by several million $90 Wii Fit units sold, and no one should doubt Nintendo again.

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata held a brief Q&A at a recent Nintendo investors conference, and he knew he had to start the marketing of the Wii Vitality Sensor early, lest it stay a joke.

From Nintendo:

[Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata:] What we are trying to propose first is a video game with a theme of relaxation, which is completely opposite from traditional ones, to enrich the users’ lives. Especially among those who are constantly busy, I am sure you have experienced not being able to go to bed even when you are so tired after a busy day at work and coming home late at night… What if you were able to visualize how to unwind and relax, or check the condition of your automatic nerve by simply inserting your finger in the device once a day

Iwata also discussed the Wii Vitality Sensor in direct context of the Wii Fit.

Before Wii Fit launched, everyone doubted how well it could sell. As for Wii Vitality Sensor, I think it will face similar doubts as to whether such a product will sell well in the video game market. Of course no one can tell how people respond to it before the launch. We understand everyone wants to enjoy a vibrant lifestyle, so I believe if the product could support that desire, it would make a large impact in society.

Lastly, if you’ve grown tired of nifty (re: fad) Wii peripherals, prepare yourself for more.

We are hoping to make one such proposals a year, or every two years at best, to try and realize what no one has ever done before.

The hurdle will be in how to market these things, but Nintendo has shown strength in marketing outside their normal audience with Wii Fit, Brain Age and the Personal Trainer series of cooking and knowledge games.

Madden Kicks Off Cowboy’s Stadium Football

Kotaku reports: {link no longer active}

PlayStation and EA Sports invited more than 200 fans to the NFL’s newest stadium on Saturday to battle it out on Cowboys’ Stadium’s big screen, which has been the scene of video gameplay before. The event played out during the Cowboys’ appreciation day for their season ticket holders. About 10,000 fans were expected to attend while the Madden tournament played out on the Godzillatron – the world’s largest 1080p hi-def screen.

Madden NFL 10 was the game in question and it was played on a PlayStation 3.  Tournament winners were given free PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable systems.

Could you think of a better way to promote this month’s upcoming Madden release in the heart of football?   Wish we were there.

New Games TV Show Launches On Bravo

With casual gaming showing continued revenue and traffic strength compared to its console video games older brother, it should be no surprise an upcoming TV show is focusing on just that demographic.

Game Face is a new game TV show just launched on Bravo in the UK, and its key audience will be those gamers who play from time to time, either on a console, an iPhone or a PC.

MCVUK reports:

As well as working with partners such as Bravo, Ginx TV describes itself as being the first international 24/7 TV channel that turns video gaming into mainstream entertainment TV .

By taking the rich production values of many games today, using the story line or game objective, Ginx creates a TV production from a TV viewers point of view, [said programming head Peter Einstein].  We feel this concept provides a fun, entertaining TV event which is appealing mostly to the casual gamer.

Based on the segments we’ve watched on Bravo{link no longer active}, the show has a very G4 vibe to it that.  That doesn’t exactly corroborate going for a non-hardcore audience, but we’ll see how the show develops over the next couple of months.