Universal Interactive Takes a ‘Crash’ Course

Crash Bandicoot, the popular video-game character, reveals a different side in a new campaign set to break this month for the game arm of Universal Studios.

The new work, created by the Los Angeles shop Kovel/Fuller, includes a print ad that has the large orange creature hobbling gingerly down a hospital corridor, presumably after a severe injury. A loose-fitting gown reveals his big flesh-colored butt. The copy reads, “It’s Crash’s toughest adventure yet.” The new tagline is, “More pain. More game.”

“We wanted to take the advertising to another level,” said Jon athan Anastas, Kovel/Fuller senior vice president, group account director, who used a fake rubber tush from a novelty store on Hollywood Boulevard for the shoot.

“There is so much equity in this character,” he said. “Crash has always been irreverent, but we’ve never seen his ass before.”

The print work is part of the first ad campaign launched by Universal Interactive since it took over the marketing of its line of video games. The company, which had previously licensed the games to other marketers, awarded creative and media planning duties to Kovel/Fuller in June after a review.

Sources said the client is set to spend about $10 million over the next 12 months, with nearly half that figure earmarked for the coming pre-holiday-selling season.

In addition to Crash Bandicoot, which has sold more than 23 million units since 1996, the print and TV ads set to break this month also focus on the games Spyro the Dragon and Return of the Mummy.

According to Tor ri Dorrell, Universal’s vp of global marketing, the work confirms that the client selected an agency that best suits its needs. “The look and feel of these ads say Crash is still fun and irreverent,” she said. “But now he’s ready for his toughest adventure yet.”