New Ad Is Business, Not Personal, for WongDoody

WongDoody is using an unlikely theme—organized crime—to market Sierra On-Line’s Hoyle Casino computer game.

The Bellevue, Wash., software publisher is rolling the dice with a 30-second national cable spot featuring a friendly wise guy who terrorizes visitors to his seedy Las Vegas casino.

WongDoody tested the commercial during the holidays, and plans to roll it out nationally in March. The Seattle shop handles creative and media on the estimated $2 million account.

“We took every mob cliché and threw it at them,” said associate creative director John Schofield. “They were nervous, but they were brave enough to go through with it.”

Sierra’s vp of marketing, Barbara Schwabe, acknowledged having misgivings. “It made me a bit nervous, and that was the response I wanted,” she said. “Without the power of a major media spend, the creative had to work that much harder.”

WongDoody filmed the spot in Vegas, and relied on an amalgam of famous mobster movie scenes to drive the point home. The ad draws inspiration from films like Casino, Goodfellas and The Godfather.

The spot opens with Dante, the aptly named main character done up in a loud, Vegas-style sports jacket, walking around his casino, bemoaning the fact that patrons who have played Hoyle Casino are breaking his bank. To retaliate, he places a horse’s head in one patron’s bed and shoves another in the trunk of a car (“Watch ya’ head,” he advises) and takes him to the desert for a live burial.

In the end, he blows up a truck presumably full of computer games.

“Hoyle Casino. The best-selling casino game” is the spoken tagline.