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Channel M, Navy See Gamers as Sailors

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LOS ANGELES The U.S. Navy Recruiting Command has partnered with independent Channel M to introduce an action-packed, Navy-themed video game—and subtly pinpoint potential new sailors, the agency said.

Channel M, the Los Angeles marketing and advertising firm that pairs clients with similarly targeted products and venues, is transforming the lobby of Universal CityWalk's Loews Cineplex into a Navy-branded arcade. Along with free snacks, drinks and prizes—including gift cards from video-game retailer EB Games and a high-speed gaming PC from Alienware Computers—players can try their trigger fingers at Navy Training Exercise: Strike and Retrieve in 15-20 minute shifts.

To be held this Sunday, the event is intended to positively promote the Navy among 16- to 21-year-old men. But "it's not a hard-sell recruiting event," said David Teichner, CEO at Channel M. "The game will do the recruiting."

The event has been promoted throughout the Los Angeles area with Channel M-produced posters, handouts, street-marketing efforts and 60-second spots shown at EB stores, movie theaters and PC gaming centers. At least 500 players are expected to attend, Teichner said.

Channel M's game-marketing efforts are set to continue after the arcade day: The agency intends to incorporate event footage in its August edition of EB TV in-store video programming, Teichner said. Channel M's summer goal "is really to get the buzz about the game out," he added. "That's the recruiting effort. That will generate leads."

Like the U.S. Army's downloadable video-game series, America's Army, NTE Strike and Retrieve was designed not only to entertain, but as a marketing and recruiting tool. The game challenges players to locate secret documents from downed planes, survive in life-threatening underwater terrains and battle both hungry sea creatures and opposing military forces. Players also can find special game codes and guides by linking to the Navy's official Web site.

NTE Strike and Retrieve can be downloaded free via a Navy-launched Web site beginning tomorrow.