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72andSunny Goes Beyond G4's Home Turf

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LOS ANGELES Independent 72andSunny's extensive promotional effort on behalf of the G4 Network's 2005 G-Phoria video game awards show culminates with tonight's event broadcast, according to the agency.

The marketing effort marks the first time in its three-year history the program, touted as "the mother of all video game award shows", has relied on an off-channel advertising campaign, an agency representative said.

Described as "a multi-million dollar" effort, the brash, design-driven campaign includes wild postings and online banner ads with a decidedly hand-made feel and "an '80s punk-rock aesthetic," said Glenn Cole, creative director at the El Segundo, Calif., agency. At its core is a 30-second spot, airing through this evening on cable channels including Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, Spike and MTV.

The commercial, crafted by Los Angeles stop-motion graphics shop Blind Visual Propaganda, features characters from popular video games Doom 3 and Splinter Cell hanging out in a downtown dive bar, knocking back beers and politely one-upping each other with G-Phoria nomination jabs.

To capture the gaming culture's attitude and vitality, 72andSunny designed its work with "an urban, street-y tone," Cole said. Wild postings in cities including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami were "inspired by early '80s punk" postings, he said.

Like punk rock, "video games are such an important part of youth culture," Cole said. "And the [culture] is often misunderstood in the same way."

In addition to marketing components, 72andSunny also designed the show's invitations and trophies. The latter, formerly "gold-plated joystick paperweights," were transformed into huge "leather wrestling belts with gilded medallions," Cole said. "For wearing around at the after-party, to really clearly show everybody."

Although the G-Phoria awards show concludes tonight, Cole said 72andSunny's work with G4 continues. Since November, the agency has been helping the Los Angeles-based network "define its overall brand strategy, still a work in progress," he said.

"This isn't just TV about video games," Cole said of the Comcast-owned station, on air since 2002. "It's a lens for looking at a specific part of youth culture, and there's so much around it that's cool and entertaining."

The awards show honors categories ranging from best cinematic effects to best original soundtrack.