It’s Good To Be Michael Bay

Blockbuster director Michael Bay has helmed a TV spot to promote Victoria s Secret’s Christmas lingerie catalogue.  The long-form ad has everything one would expect from the explosive, and some would argue chronically over-budgeted, film director.

Explosion at 1:14.

Watch it at AdFreak. {link no longer active}

Over The Top, Redefined

The quote from Game Informer featured in this trailer says Bayonetta redefines over the top.   Maybe it sums up Sega’s game.  It definitely sums up the video.  The publisher hasn’t strayed far from featuring the femme fatale character and her amplified attributes front and center in its hype, and usually in place of anything to do with the game.  No exception here.   Whether she’s locked in gunfight ballet, walking through flying debris while flicking her hair, or kicking a gun out of the air, it s Bayonetta’s sex appeal that s meant to do the killing.  The game may not need a controller.

The dreamy music with the deadly lyrics is the song In for the Kill by British techno-pop artists La Roux.

Watch it at 1up.

The Apocalypse Will Be Televised

Director and animator Sugimoto Kousuke hasn’t done anything of significance to Western audiences.  At least not according to Google or Bing.  His nifty animated piece The TV Show might put him on the radar.  There’s no corner of pixilated pop culture that he doesn t explore in his video.  It s official Mr. Kousuke, you ve exposed the madness, and you re just as wrapped up in it as the rest of us.

Watch it at YouTube.

Meet The Guild Wars Gang

NC Soft has a trailer introducing the characters in its upcoming role playing game Guild Wars 2.   Capturing an RPG with a compelling trailer isn t easy.  Footage from even the best them can come across as canned combat and more of the same game play, and highlights such as art style and intricate environments don t necessarily provide great editing material.  NC Soft finds a way to maximize the impact of the content at hand to overcome some of those challenges.

The trailer for the Guild Wars sequel is nothing new or groundbreaking.  Rather, it s an impressively crafty construction of the usual elements that need to be showcased fanciful characters, fantasy premise, vast environments and playable classes.  It also adds a nifty show piece in using animated illustrations to introduce each character, and elevates the overall production quality with first-rate writing and voice acting.

Watch the Guild Wars 2 trailer at GameTrailers {link no longer active}.

Paradise In HD

Developer Grasshopper Manufacture is porting over its well-received Wii game No More Heroes with a HD version destined for PS3 and Xbox 360.  The over-the-top, twisted-plot action game from Japan game creator Goichi Suda (a.k.a. Suda51) has a lot of unique elements going for it.  For one, it s essentially a reverse homage that channels U.S. cinema’s channeling of Asian cinema.  It also involves a half-Japanese, half-Irish lead character named Travis Touchdown who manages to ooze celebrity-cool while being a down-and-out, unemployed videogame fanatic.  And never mind that the game is essentially a series of sword fights involving ever-bigger swords.  The trailer for the HD-version, titled No More Heroes: Paradise, captures all of that.

Despite the unique IP, or perhaps because of it, the title may not make it to PS3 and Xbox 360 gamers here in the West.  Ubisoft had published the Wii title in Western territories, getting good critical reception but seeing only moderate commercial success.  After the game s slow start, Grasshopper Manufacture became one of the first companies to publicly question the viability of third-party software on Wii, a statement it later retracted as Nintendo stepped in to provide some support for the title and sales picked up.  Ubisoft is currently saying they don t intend to publish No More Heroes: Paradise.   Should the game s developer seek alternatives, they could look to Capcom’s approach with Resident Evil: Alternative Edition.   Capcom put that title s release in the West up to gamers, asking them to vote on if they wanted it and whether they’d accept it as a downloadable game.

Watch the No More Heroes: Paradise trailer at GameTrailers {link no longer active}.

Ad Age Viral Video Chart For Week Of Nov. 23

Ad Age lists the top ten viral videos for the week of November 23.

A new entry this week muscles to the top, becoming the second largest number one debut on Ad Age’s chart.  More than three million people watched Muscle Milk’s Sexy Pilgrim, a crazy concoction thick on innuendo for both sexes, since its Thanksgiving launch.  Ad Age says the video was helped along by viral marketer Sharethrough and video site Metacafe.

For videogames, Activision’s viral for Tony Hawk: Ride with Tillman the board riding bulldog charged up the list this week to number two, with more than 2 million views.  Microsoft’s Natal video is still hanging on at number nine.  Lingerers aren’t unusual on the list, but they seem to be marked by fairly compelling content say creepy babies, or Ken Block risking lives and limbs in his drifting video for DC Shoes.  A little insight from Ad Age or Visible Measures seems forthcoming to understand just how Microsoft’s long-form advert featuring a too cool for earth family has drawn somewhere upwards of ten million views.  It could be the outstanding product promise.

Other new entries include a nifty animated video for Orbit gum, Plane Stupid’s graphic video tying airplane emissions to dead polar bears, and a viral launch for Frito-Lay’s Woman’s World campaign.

Ad Age’s chart includes number of views for the week and percentage change in views for videos that stayed on the chart.  The list is compiled by Visible Measures.

Check out the full list and watch the videos at Ad Age {link no longer active}.

Hum Bugs For Christmas

Innovation First has taken Bandai’s line of mechanical toys called Hexbugs and given them a unique and intriguing campaign targeting scientifically inclined youth.  Hexbugs are insectile robotic toys that react to obstacles, light and sound.  They re simple little toys that Innovation First has elevated to educational products using science lab-inspired branding.  The branding goes beyond logo and trade dress, with peripheral products such as play arenas sold as habitats and the Hexbug Specimen Case pushing kids to collect the whole line.  Innovation First has even launched programs promoting selling their products to raise money for schools.  It’s an ingeniously thought-out and executed campaign, one that’s making the stocking-stuffer suited toys hot holiday items.

The effort for the latest toy in the line, called Hexbug Nano, channels that inspired branding into a unique video and digital campaign.  The video is set up as an observation of Nanos in action, where their simple movements are presented as actual instinctive and even sentient behavior.  For its digital component, the campaign directs those who buy the toys to an online destination designed to turn them into Hexbug collectors.  Visitors are “initiated” into a scientific society ancient in its roots and dedicated to advancement.  The site also has online games to play that are positioned as challenges testing the player’s science acumen.

You can check out the video and access the web site at Creativity-Online.

‘Crackdown 2’ Tickler

Spike TV has another game that it gets to exclusively reveal at the upcoming 2009 Video Game Awards with Microsoft’s Crackdown 2.   To promote it the network is again tickling gamers with a five second blip of footage, just as they did with Disney’s TRON Legacy.

The promotion, including the coups in getting first crack at these far-off titles, is brilliant on the network’s part.  Drawing an audience for a videogame awards show in December must have its challenges.  After all they have to compel gamers to pull themselves away from some pretty darn good interactive fare to sit passively in front of the program.  The promise of first peeks for big games seen nowhere else is a good reason to cool down the consoles, and whether live or by DVR the games are going to benefit from a lot eyes on them by way of Spike.  As for the promo clips, which in a sense are the real first impressions, are those really benefitting the games   Looking at the last two glancing blows by Crackdown 2 and TRON, there are more reasons to wonder about the visual fidelity in these quick clips than get excited about the titles.

The Spike Video Game Awards takes place December 12 on Spike; check local listings.

Take a sip of Crackdown 2 at GameTrailers {link no longer active}.

Sony Makes Believe For UK TV Spot

Sony has a TV spot promoting its UK Sony Centre retail stores using the company’s recently introduced “make.believe” messaging.  Sony launched the “make.believe” campaign in early November to highlight its place in entertainment consumers lives as an innovator where cutting-edge hardware ( make ) intersects ( dot ) with creative content ( believe ).

The new spot has the same dreamy feel as that first ad, and Sony’s videogame products again get cameos only despite the protaginist being of perfect gaming age.  Game plugs in the ad come by way of floating PSPs and a giant, almost frightening Sackboy from Little Big Planet who looks like he’s about to treat the kid like one of his in-game props.

Watch the UK Sony Centre spot at Campaign {link no longer active}.

Red Dead Dusted Off

Rockstar shows how sometimes the source material is so pure that complete imitation is simply the sincerest form of presentation.  It doesn’t even matter that the source material in this case is only being used for inspiration.  The debut trailer for Red Dead Redemption, the sequel in the game maker’s Western franchise, is exactly what it should be.  It’s a wholehearted homage to the revered Spaghetti Western films of Italian director Sergio Leone and a few of his capable imitators.  Precision six-shooters aside, these are the films that lifted Westerns out of their slide into a cotton candy-colored, pubescent plot-burdened gulley to make the genre both sophisticated and timeless.  One can only hope Rockstar can build on the success of the first Red Dead to do the same for the genre in games.

Watch it at GameTrailers {link no longer active}.